Identification of a protective protein that reduces the severity of COVID-19
Written by Elin Thysell
Researchers at Umeå University and their international collaborative partners 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. Using drugs that boost OAS1 levels could be explored to try to improve these outcomes. The findings were published on 26th February 2021 in Nature Medicine.
“Our analysis shows evidence that OAS1 has a protective effect against COVID-19 susceptibility and severity,” explains Dr. Elin Thysell, researcher at Medical Biosciences and Deputy Project Manager for PREDICT. PREDICT is the newly launched initiative at the Medical Faculty with the goal of finding tools early that make it possible to prevent or alleviate diseases by developing the use of biobank samples in the healthcare area. “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.” says Johan Normark, specialist doctor in infectious diseases at Umeå University Hospital and principal investigator of the CoVUm study. This clinical study for COVID-19, carried out as a collaboration between Region Västerbotten and Umeå University, studies immunity and the course of the disease furthermore, why the disease strikes so hard on certain individuals.