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Coronavirus: il 15% delle forme gravi spiegato da anomalie genetiche e immunologiche

Roma, 25 settembre 2020 – Due nuovi studi cercano di spiegare perché la risposta individuale all’infezione da virus SARS-CoV2 varia così tanto da persona a persona. Risolvere questo mistero renderebbe possibile identificare i pazienti a rischio, anticipare e migliorare la loro cura e offrire nuove vie terapeutiche basate su una maggiore comprensione della malattia.

La prima ricerca è stata condotta da un team internazionale a cui hanno partecipato Francesca Fusco e Matilde Valeria Ursini dell’istituto di genetica e biofisica “A. Buzzati-Traverso” del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche di Napoli (Cnr-Igb) e pubblicati sulla rivista Science danno risposta a questa domanda chiave. Il team ha identificato le cause genetiche e immunologiche che spiegano il 15% delle forme gravi di Covid-19. I pazienti hanno in comune un difetto nell’attività delle forme di Interferone di tipo I (INF-1), molecole del sistema immunitario che normalmente svolgono una potente attività antivirale. Queste scoperte potrebbero consentire di sottoporre a screening le persone a rischio di sviluppare una forma grave e di trattare in maniera mirata i pazienti.

Nel secondo studio i ricercatori mostrano, in più del 10% dei pazienti che sviluppano polmonite grave da infezione da SARS-CoV2, la presenza ad alti livelli di anticorpi diretti contro IFN di tipo I nel sangue di individui che neutralizzano l’effetto antivirale dell’IFN. “Questi autoanticorpi sono assenti nelle persone che sviluppano una forma lieve della malattia e rari nella popolazione generale: l’analisi di un campione di controllo di 1.227 persone sane ha permesso di valutare la prevalenza di autoanticorpi contro IFN di tipo 1 allo 0,33%, ovvero 15 volte inferiore a quello osservato nei pazienti con forme gravi”, precisa Matilde Valeria Ursini dell’istituto di genetica e biofisica “A. Buzzati-Traverso” del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche di Napoli (Cnr-Igb).

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