Protein linked to reduced severity of Covid

ISLAMABAD:Researchers have discovered that increased levels of the protein OAS1 are associated with reduced mortality and less severe disease requiring ventilation among patients with Covid-19.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, indicates that using drugs that boost OAS1 levels could be explored to try to improve these outcomes, Medical Daily reported .

“Our analysis shows evidence that OAS1 has a protective effect against Covid-19 susceptibility and severity,” said researcher Brent Richards from the McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

“This is a very exciting development in the race to identify potential therapies to treat patients because there are already therapies in pre-clinical development that boost OAS1 and could be explored for their effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Richards added.

For the study, the team explored proteins detectable in peripheral blood as a potential target. The challenge lay in determining which proteins play a causal role in disease progression, since their levels may also be influenced by Covid-19 itself or other confounding factors, the researchers said.

Recent advances in proteomic technology — that is, the capacity to isolate and measure hundreds of circulating proteins at once — combined with genetic analyses through Mendelian randomization (MR) makes possible the delicate work of untangling which proteins affected Covid-19 adverse outcomes, rather than vice versa, they added.

From genetic determinants of 931 circulating proteins, the team found that increase in OAS1 levels was associated with reduced Covid-19 death or ventilation, hospitalisation, and susceptibility in up to 14,134 Covid-19 cases and 1.2 million controls.

The results were consistent in multiple sensitivity analyses. They proceeded to measure OAS1 levels in 504 patients with different Covid-19 outcomes and found that increased OAS1 levels in post-infection patients were associated with protection against very severe Covid-19, hospitalisation and susceptibility.