University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine Researcher Discovers How Coronavirus Causes Harmful Inflammation

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has discovered how coronavirus can cause harmful and escalating inflammation.

It is because of a region on the spike protein she calls a superantigen.

“That region would be expected to trigger a very strong response, adaptive immune response, and now the response is so exaggerated,” says Ivet Bahar, Ph.D., distinguished professor and John K. Vries Chair of computational and systems biology at Pitt School of Medicine.

Her work came about by trying to get a better handle on what happens in the severe pediatric coronavirus-related illness MIS-C or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. The symptoms of low blood pressure, fever and rash looked very similar to toxic shock syndrome, a potentially fatal illness caused by bacterial toxins.



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By using computer models, she found a surprise.

“We started to

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