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SINGLE-CELL RNA SEQUENCING Single-cell RNA sequencing was performed on 13 ‘mild-moderate’ and 10 ‘critical’ COVID19 PBMC samples

Summary Epidemiological and clinical reports have indicated that SARS-CoV-2 virulence hinges upon the triggering of an aberrant host immune response, more so than on direct virus-induced cellular damage. To elucidate the immunopathology underlying COVID-19 severity, we performed cytokine and multiplex immune profiling in mild-moderate and critically ill COVID-19 patients. Hypercytokinemia in COVID-19 differed from the IFN-γ-driven cytokine storm in macrophage activation syndrome, and was more pronounced in critical versus mild-moderate COVID-19. Systems modelling of cytokine levels paired with deep-immune profiling showed that classical monocytes drive this hyper-inflammatory phenotype and that a reduction in T-lymphocytes correlates with disease severity, with CD8+ cells being disproportionately affected. Expression of antigen presenting machinery was also reduced in critical disease. Furthermore, we found that neutrophils contributed to disease severity and local tissue damage by amplification of hypercytokinemia and the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps. Together these findings suggest a myeloid-driven immunopathology, in which hyperactivated neutrophils and an ineffective adaptive immune system act as mediators of COVID-19 disease severity.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001006997 Illumina NovaSeq 6000 15
Publications Citations
Monocyte-driven atypical cytokine storm and aberrant neutrophil activation as key mediators of COVID-19 disease severity.
Nat Commun 12: 2021 4117