A report that connects pathogenic priming to serious and critical illness and mortality in COVID-19 throws light on a lesser known aspect of the deadly coronavirus.
Pathogenic priming or ‘disease enhancement’ is a biological process where in a limited initial exposure of the immune system of an organism to certain proteins of antigens derived from a pathogen prepares or ‘primes’ the cells of the immune system to produce a defensive inflammatory response against those pathogenic antigens.
Priming is the initial contact of antigen-specific T helper cell precursors with an antigen. The interaction of the helper-T cells with B cells is essential for the development of antibodies.
The SARS-CoV-2 possesses numerous proteins, which serves as an antigen source during infection, thereby leading to autoimmunity. The immune system presents these proteins as ‘normal’ human proteins, a phenomenon called biomimicry.
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