There are two versions of the coronavirus. One’s not more dangerous than the other

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 13:40 in Health & Medicine

Differences among patients, not the genetic makeup of the coronavirus, determines how severe COVID-19 will be, a study finds.  Factors such as a person’s age and white blood cell counts are associated with disease severity, an analysis of 326 COVID-19 patients from Shanghai shows. Older people and people with low levels of certain immune cells known as T cells and high levels of an immune chemical called IL-6 tended to be sicker. But the version of the coronavirus that people were infected with made no difference in how sick they got, the team reports May 20 in Nature.  IL-6 is a protein known as a cytokine, one of many proteins that signal the immune system to rev up defenses. Overactive immune, known as cytokine storms, are a problem for people with severe cases of COVID-19.  Sign up for e-mail updates on the latest coronavirus news and research In the new study, the team identified two major versions of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus,...

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