UChicago researchers shed new light on a potential cause of severe COVID symptoms

UChicago PME

Since the earliest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians and scientists worldwide have been working to understand how exactly the virus makes us sick. That task, already complicated by COVID’s rapid spread, is made more challenging by some of its unusual, seemingly inexplicable symptoms, such as blood pressure dysregulation and blood clots.

Now, research from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) shows that the immune system may unintentionally contribute to the disease’s strangest symptoms.

The findings, published in Sciences Advances, show that some people with severe COVID-19 can develop autoantibodies—antibodies directed against a person’s own proteins—that disturb a critical component involved in blood pressure regulation.

“Our research shows that these autoantibodies may play a larger role in secondary complications of COVID-19 than people realize, and by monitoring for these responses, we may be better able to treat the disease,” said Melody Swartz, William B. Ogden Professor of Molecular Engineering.

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This story was first published by UChicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. 

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