Immunologist Bolibok explained why the coronavirus increases the risk of autoimmune diseases
Coronavirus infection significantly increases the risk of autoimmune diseases, in which the human immune system begins to attack healthy cells, tissues and organs. Doctors began to notice fatal failures in the functioning of the immune system even at the beginning of the covid pandemic, then they began to talk about a cytokine storm. Now, using a large-scale analysis of data from 850,000 people who recovered from COVID-19 and the same number of people who did not get sick in the control group, it was possible to see how infection leads to the onset of autoimmune diseases. in people who were healthy before COVID-19 illness.
According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Taiwan Institute of Medicine, on the 6-month horizon after a coronavirus infection, the risks of developing:
– Rheumatoid arthritis: 2.98 times (compared to the control group that did not have a disease);
– Systemic lupus erythematosus – 2.99 times;
– Dermatopolymyositis (muscle inflammation) – 1.96 times;
– Systemic scleroderma (connective tissue disease, characterized by non-bacterial inflammation and impaired blood microcirculation) – 1.58 times;
– Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune systemic disease of connective tissue that affects the glands of external secretion: lacrimal and salivary, as well as sweat, sebaceous and mucous membranes) – 1.62 times;
– Mixed connective tissue disease – 3.14 times;
– Behcet’s disease (chronic systemic vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) with damage to multiple organs) – 2.32 times;
– Polymyalgia rheumatica (a condition that causes severe morning stiffness and pain in the muscles of the shoulders, neck, spine, buttocks, and thighs) – 2.9 times;
– Vasculitis (autoimmune inflammation of the walls of blood vessels, veins, arteries, capillaries suffer) – 1.96 times;
– Psoriasis (a chronic disease that affects the skin, sometimes nails, joints and internal organs) – 2.91 times;
– Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – 1.78 times;
– Celiac disease (the mucous membrane of the small intestine is damaged if a person eats foods containing wheat and some other cereals) – 2.68 times.
– Type 1 diabetes (accompanied by the destruction of pancreatic beta cells, absolute insulin deficiency and the development of chronic hyperglycemia, elevated blood glucose levels) – 2.68 times.
The authors of the study point out that in the case of a longer follow-up time (beyond the horizon of 6 months after suffering from covid), there will be even more autoimmune diseases in the group of those who have recovered from covid.
What is the reason for such a failure in the work of the immune system? KP.RU asked the doctor, allergist and immunologist Vladimir Bolibok.
– The coronavirus itself severely damages the inner lining of blood vessels, which is called the intima. Since there is intimacy in absolutely all vessels and organs. It turns out that those who suffer from covid develop systemic vascular inflammation in all organs where the virus enters and the virus spreads throughout the vascular bed, – said Vladimir Bolibok. – Any inflammation in the internal organ can further provoke the development of autoimmune inflammation, if a person has a genetic predisposition to this. All autoimmune diseases are caused by a genetic predisposition. It’s just that before a person becomes infected with covid, this genetic predisposition may not be noticed or manifested subclinically, that is, the person does not yet feel that the disease has begun in him. Covid is a kind of “trigger” that starts this process or turns a latent autoimmune disease into an overt one.
So that the post-covid inflammatory process does not become the cause of serious ailments, the doctor recommends ending covid treatment. We are talking about the treatment of residual inflammation once the acute phase of the disease has passed. Long-term anti-inflammatory drugs help.