Is Covid-19 an Autoimmune Disease?

As Markham Heid reports in Elemental, autoimmunity may explain how the virus inflicts such widespread and unpredictable damage. He writes:

“Autoimmunity” describes immune system activity — primarily inflammation — that is directed at healthy cells, tissues, or other inappropriate targets in the body. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, are defined by this inappropriate inflammation and its resulting damage. When it comes to Covid-19 and myocarditis, [John Swartzberg, MD, an emeritus professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health] says the autoimmune hypothesis posits that SARS-CoV-2 causes the immune system to misidentify something in the heart’s cells as dangerous. This misidentification leads to inflammation.

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A blog from Medium for Covid-19 news, advice, and commentary.

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Alexandra Sifferlin

Alexandra Sifferlin

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that

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