While the pandemic still hasn’t been contained, scientists continue to try to better understand what causes the most severe cases of Covid-19. This time they could have identified a key molecular mechanism responsible for its mortality. An enzyme linked to neurotoxins found in rattlesnake venom!
Scientists have been studying thewhich they called sPLA2-IIA. Some call it the “shredder”. Because it is able to destroy in case of bacterial infection microbial. By attacking certain fats, these wear on the outer surface of their membranes. And she’s been talked about again recently. As part of the .
That(USA) tell us today that this enzyme is found in low concentrations in healthy people. Helps us defend ourselves against infections. Without risk because, even if the also carry the famous fats attacked by sPLA2-IIA, it’s more on the inside of their walls. Something to protect her.
But in sick individuals, these fats can be exposed when cells begin to die due to infection. And when sPLA2-IIA is circulating in the blood in high concentrations, the machine goes into overdrive. The enzyme messes up mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells. Instead of just targeting foreign cells, it starts “rags” our.
A new way of therapy?
The link with the? The one that the researchers identified by analyzing samples from more than 250 patients. A cohort that remains modest but for which all useful chemical parameters were available. What some confirm : Age, body mass index or a pre-existing condition. But also to be interested in the biochemical enzymes and their content lipids in the patient’s blood.
“We were able to identify patterns of metabolites present in people who succumbed to the disease.”explains Justin Snider, the first author of the study, in a. A correlation between sPLA2-IIA levels and severe Covid-19, suggesting the enzyme could be a critical factor in fatal cases.
In most healthy individuals, blood levels of sPLA2-IIA are around half a nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL). According to the study, Covid-19 proved fatal in 63% of patients whose levels of this enzyme reached or exceeded 10 ng/ml. This is still five times more than in patients who have recovered from severe forms. “Many patients who died from Covid-19 had some of the highest levels of this enzyme ever reported.”, points out Floyd Chilton, who has been studying sPLA2-IIA for more than three decades. Up to over 1,000 ng/mL. The discovery could pave the way. But other studies and especially should be performed to confirm this.