The Single-Cell Center Würzburg has helped to understand why patients require prolonged ventilation.
The majority of patients with severe COVID-19 develop unusually pronounced scarring of the lungs. This was shown by researchers with the participation of the Single-Cell Center Würzburg in a study published in the renowned journal Cell. Apparently, macrophages play a central role in the formation of scar tissue in the lung.
Some of the mechanisms involved in COVID-19-related respiratory failure resemble those seen in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a previously incurable disease which causes scarring of the lungs. Misguided wound healing responses resulting in scarring may explain why COVID-19 patients remain in respiratory failure for so long, and why they require prolonged extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support.
SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers profibrotic macrophage responses and lung fibrosis
Wendisch D, Dietrich O, Mari T, von Stillfried S, (...), Saliba AE, Sander LE (2021)
Image of the lung: © Adobe Stock/ambassador806 (edited by HIRI)