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Researchers hunt for cause of rare, COVID-19–linked immune disease in children

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  • Researchers hunt for cause of rare, COVID-19–linked immune disease in children

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021...mmune-syndrome
    Researchers hunt for cause of rare, COVID-19–linked immune disease in children

    By Jennifer Couzin-FrankelMar. 18, 2021 , 12:00 PM
    ...

    Both adults and children with acute COVID-19 had high levels of inflammation and immune activation, in which immune cells get revved up to target potential harms—but in MIS-C patients, the degree of activation sometimes exceeded that of the sickest adult patients, the researchers reported this month in Science Immunology. One subgroup of immune cells stood out: the so-called “vascular patrolling” T cells. Their high activation, suggesting they were targeting blood vessels, could explain the cardiac inflammation and aneurysms in some patients.

    Vella and her colleagues also noted that despite the rampant inflammation in the MIS-C patients, it abated quickly with treatment. “They can turn this around with therapy,” Vella says, whereas people with COVID-19 experienced longer lasting inflammation.

    ...
    Pascual is exploring whether SARS-CoV-2 causes a subtle immune system abnormality, perhaps in immune system precursor cells, and subsequent exposure to another virus—a “second hit”—sends the immune system into overdrive. The good news, Pascual says, is “all these hypotheses are testable.”...
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