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Laterre PF, François B, Collienne C, et al. Association of Interleukin 7 Immunotherapy With Lymphocyte Counts Among Patients With Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(7):e2016485. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16485
Cytokine storm–mediated organ injury continues to dominate current thinking as the primary mechanism for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although there is an initial hyper-inflammatory phase, mounting evidence suggests that virus-induced defective host immunity may be the real cause of death in many patients.1,2
COVID-19 has been called a serial lymphocyte killer because profound and protracted lymphopenia is a near uniform finding among patients with severe COVID-19 and correlates with morbidity and mortality.1,3 Autopsies demonstrate a devastating depletion of lymphocytes in the spleen and other organs.2 CD4, CD8, and natural killer cells, which play important antiviral roles, are depleted and have reduced function, leading to immune collapse.1
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