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. 2020 Mar 12;ciaa248.
doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa248. Online ahead of print.

Dysregulation of Immune Response in Patients With COVID-19 in Wuhan, China

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Free PMC article

Dysregulation of Immune Response in Patients With COVID-19 in Wuhan, China

Chuan Qin et al. Clin Infect Dis. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: In December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan and rapidly spread throughout China.

Methods: Demographic and clinical data of all confirmed cases with COVID-19 on admission at Tongji Hospital from January 10 to February 12, 2020, were collected and analyzed. The data of laboratory examinations, including peripheral lymphocyte subsets, were analyzed and compared between severe and non-severe patients.

Results: Of the 452 patients with COVID-19 recruited, 286 were diagnosed as severe infection. The median age was 58 years and 235 were male. The most common symptoms were fever, shortness of breath, expectoration, fatigue, dry cough and myalgia. Severe cases tend to have lower lymphocytes counts, higher leukocytes counts and neutrophil-lymphocyte-ratio (NLR), as well as lower percentages of monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Most of severe cases demonstrated elevated levels of infection-related biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The number of T cells significantly decreased, and more hampered in severe cases. Both helper T cells and suppressor T cells in patients with COVID-19 were below normal levels, and lower level of helper T cells in severe group. The percentage of naïve helper T cells increased and memory helper T cells decreased in severe cases. Patients with COVID-19 also have lower level of regulatory T cells, and more obviously damaged in severe cases.

Conclusions: The novel coronavirus might mainly act on lymphocytes, especially T lymphocytes. Surveillance of NLR and lymphocyte subsets is helpful in the early screening of critical illness, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Lymphocyte subsets; T lymphocyte; immune response.

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