Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

New Potential Biomarker of Severe COVID-19 Identified

A pro-inflammatory cytokine linked to host defense in lung disorders have been identified as a potential biomarker for severe COVID-19. The finding, which is reported in Frontiers of Immunology this week, may help in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of the disease. Interleukin-26 (IL-26) is released by several immune and structural cells following stimulation of toll-like receptors and can directly inhibit viral replication and promote neutrophil chemotaxis. Although IL-26 is increasingly seen as a mediator of host defense in the lungs, its role in SARS-CoV-2 infection has not been established. A team led by scientists from the Karolinska Institutet examined the levels and activity of IL-26 in the plasma of patients with acute COVID-19 compared with healthy controls. They find that IL-26 is significantly increased in the blood of COVID-19 patients and that the concentration of IL-26 correlates with levels of several neutrophil-mobilizing cytokines. They also find that levels of IL-26 are correlated with two key biological markers of severe COVID-19. "Thus, IL-26 is involved in acute COVID-19, and it seems feasible that this intriguing kinocidin plays an important role in the hyperinflammation associated with acute COVID 19, a possibility that motivates further investigation into the clinical potential of IL-26 as a target for diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy in this deadly disease," the study's authors conclude.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.