Cytokine patterns may help classify long COVID subsets
13/05 - Patterns of inflammatory proteins in the blood of people with long COVID may someday help guide individualized treatment, new findings suggest.
Researchers studied 55 people with long COVID who had been only mildly ill with COVID-19 and found that roughly two-thirds had high levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, with the ongoing inflammation most likely to be found in individuals with the highest burden of long COVID symptoms.
"While earlier research has shown high levels of such proteins in long COVID patients, we provide the first evidence that more than half" have a specific signature, or pattern, while others do not, the researchers reported on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
"At least two different patterns of inflammatory proteins were detected," study leader Troy Torgerson of the Allen Institute for Immunology in Seattle told Reuters.
The existence of these patterns suggests the immune system is being activated in specific ways that could be responsive to treatment with existing anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive medicines, Torgerson said. "Measurement of these proteins in blood could help to identify long COVID patients who may be good candidates for treatment studies using these drugs or possible future treatments."
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