Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences
HUJIThe iron side of life during corona days
Meeting ID: 897 1732 4872
A salient feature of COVID-19 infection is a storm of cytokines that sweeps the organism and is accompanied by a rise in the serum levels of ferritin, a widely recognized acute phase reactant. As the levels of those inflammatory factors are demonstrably commensurate with the severity of the disease, they are often used as diagnostic tools to assess the disease status. However, pro-inflammatory cytokines affect body iron levels by blocking all iron gates to circulation and lead to a progressive iron-deficiency (ID) and ensuing anemia (referred as IDA) that persists long after recovery from active infection in about 30% of patients. The ID has multiple manifestations immunologically, in physical weakness and major fatigue and, over time, in organ damage, especially the heart. It is only in the last 2 decades that we gained a major understanding of systemic iron homeostasis at the organ, cell and molecular levels and elucidated the underlying mechanisms of chronic iron deficiencies that are refractory to oral supplementation, as in the case of bacterial and viral infections, cancer and multiple inflammatory disorders. As during the present pandemic, a quarter of the world population with IDA is precluded either from life-saving blood or iv iron infusions, primarily the hundreds of thousands of corona patients slowly recovering from the virus, do we have efficient tools to cope with the situation so as to minimize long term organ damage and other comorbidities?