The novel coronavirus seems to cause more devastation in the body than others, with some experiencing major breathing problems, hospitalisation and even a possible death. A new study has found that those lacking a certain enzyme found in the kidneys could determine a worse outcome from a COVID-19 infection. What is it?
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Researchers from Yale School of Medicine have found that COVID-19 patients with lower levels of blood protein may develop worse health outcomes.
An enzyme known as renalase which is secreted into the blood from the kidneys and plays a role in regulating blood pressure and fighting inflammation is a key factor for one’s ability to overcome the deadly virus.
The study found that those who had lower levels of this enzyme in their body were 68 percent more likely to be affected with breathing difficulties and were therefore more likely to need a ventilator.
It was also discovered that those patients with lower levels of renalase who were hospitalised were more likely to die from the novel coronavirus.
What is renalase?
Renalase is an enzyme hormone secreted by the kidney and helps to circulate blood and blood pressure.
Renalase is highly expressed in the kidney, expressed at a lower level in the heart, skeletal muscle and small intestine.
One protein which protects against acute injury, including ischemic injury to both the kidney and the heart, is renalase.
What the study said
Researchers from the study which was published in medRxiv.org analysed levels of renalase in 51 coronavirus patients at Yale New Haven Hospital.
The results showed that the 14 patients with the lowest levels of renalase experienced more severe symptoms from COVID-19.
The study found that 84 percent of COVID-19 patients with low levels needed mechanical ventilations, compared to 50 percent of those with high levels.
Dr Gary Desir, chair of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine and author of the study said: “We want to investigate whether giving patients renalase protein agonists can improve outcomes.”
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For patients with high levels of renalase, after 20 days in the hospital, all had a 100 percent survival probability rate.
After about 40 days, the high-level group had a 65 percent chance of surviving and the low-level group had a 30 percent chance.
Patients with the lowest levels were also more likely to die than those with higher levels of the blood protein.
Patients with low levels of renalase were also more likely to be treated with remdesivir, the drug approved for emergency use by the FDA.
What is remdesivir?
Remdesivir is an investigational antiviral drug that is being reported to potentially help fight against SARS-CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
It also shows activity in the lab and in animals against related coronaviruses including SARS and MERS-Co-V.
Remdesivir is an antiviral medication developed by the American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.
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