Transferrin identified as potential contributor to COVID-19 severity

SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is currently not known why some individuals develop only mild or no symptoms when infected, whilst others experience severe, life-threatening forms of the disease. However, it is known that the risk of COVID-19 becoming severe increases with age and is higher in males than in females. Many severe COVID-19 cases are characterised by increased blood clotting and thrombosis formation.

The team combined existing data on gene expression in humans and infected cells to search for molecules involved in blood coagulation that differ between females and males, change with age, and are regulated in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Out of more than 200 candidate factors, researchers identified a glycoprotein called transferrin to be a procoagulant (a cause of blood clotting) that increases with age, is higher in males than in females, and is higher in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Hence, transferrin may have potential as a biomarker for the early identification of COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease.

Katie-May McLaughlin, the first author of the study said: “It is very exciting to be involved in such an important study that may improve therapies for COVID-19 in its most severe form.”

Top Articles

Parasitic worms cause cancer — and could help cure it

Billions worldwide are infected with tropical worms. Unsurprisingly, most of these people live in poor countries, kept poor by the effects of worm-related malnourishment. What may surprise many is that worms also cause the majority of cases of some cancers in these countries.

Read More

Phytochemicals: beyond vitamins

Phytochemicals are non-nutritive chemicals in plant foods that protect plants from microbial invasions and infections.

Read More

Sharp increase in falls in women during midlife

Falls are not just a problem of advanced age, according to researchers, who have identified a sharp increase in falls after the age of 40, particularly in women.

Read More

Latest News

Biomarker indicating neurodegeneration identified in the eye

A new study indicates a well-known biomarker that serves as a marker for earlier diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases is now detectable in the eye. Neurofilament light chain, a protein previously detected in cerebrospinal fluid and blood that is being explored as a biomarker to detect neurodegeneration, has now been identified in the vitreous humor, or fluid within the eye.

Read

Anthropologists compare a composite measure of physiological dysregulation among humans and other primates

It is well understood that mortality rates increase with age. Whether you live in Tokyo, rural Tennessee or the forests of Papua, New Guinea, the older you are, the more likely you are to succumb to any number of different ailments.

Read

Risk gene for Alzheimer’s has early effects on the brain

A genetic predisposition to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease affects how the brains of young adults cope with certain memory tasks. Researchers find are based on studies with magnetic resonance imaging in individuals at the age of about 20 years. The scientists suspect that the observed effects could be related to very early disease processes.

Read

“Our bodies are our gardens - our wills are our gardeners.”

William Shakespeare