Scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway and their French colleagues explained why some people infected with coronavirus get severely ill, while others do not experience dangerous symptoms with COVID-19. The results of the study, published in the journal Science, are summarized in a press release on the EurekAlert! Website.
Experts have found that seriously ill young patients with COVID-19 have antibodies that block interferons, proteins secreted by the body to fight infection. A similar pattern is observed in people with the rare autoimmune disease APS1. Men with coronavirus have more antibodies to interferons, which explains why women are less likely to die and suffer less from severe symptoms of coronavirus infection.
However, the researchers emphasize that this dysfunction of the immune system is only one of the many causes of deaths from COVID-19 and is typical for young people. Elderly people with coronavirus die due to more complex malfunctions in the body.
Although most people who die from COVID-19 are over 60 years old, 5 to 10 percent of young people and children may also face life-threatening risks from SARS-CoV-2.