Effect of COVID-19 on lymphocytes

March 25, 2020

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The authors describe the demographic and clinical data of all confirmed COVID-19 cases upon admission at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan between January 10th and February 12th 2020. 452 patients with COVID-19 were recruited, of which 286 were diagnosed as having a 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 tended 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 had elevated levels of infection-related biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The number of T cells significantly decreased in severe cases. Both T helper cells and T suppressor cells were below normal levels. The percentage of naïve T helper cells increased and memory T helper cells decreased in severe cases. Patients with COVID-19 also had lower levels of regulatory T cells. Therefore SARS-CoV-2 may act on lymphocytes, especially T lymphocytes.

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Qin C, Zhou L, Hu Z, Zhang S, Yang S, et al. ISSN: Clin Infect Dis; pii: ciaa248


Added: March 25, 2020