UK scientists are to begin testing a treatment that it is hoped could counter the effects of Covid-19 in the most seriously ill patients.
It has been found those with the most severe form of the disease have extremely low numbers of an immune cell called a T-cell.
T-cells clear infection from the body.
The clinical trial will evaluate if a drug called interleukin 7, known to boost T-cell numbers, can aid patients’ recovery.
It involves scientists from the Francis Crick Institute, King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.
They have looked at immune cells in the blood of 60 Covid-19 patients and found an apparent crash in the numbers of T-cells.
The researchers say these findings pave the way for them to develop a “fingerprint test” to check the levels of T-cells in the blood which could provide early indications of who might go on to develop more severe disease.
But it also provides the possibility for a specific treatment to reverse that immune cell decline.
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