Scottish Daily Mail

Could ticks be used in battle against Covid?


TICKS could offer a potential lifesaving breakthrou­gh in treating Covid-19 patients.

Research is under way in Lanarkshir­e to examine whether Evasins – a type of protein injected by the blood-sucking parasites when they feed – could be used to help patients whose lungs are badly damaged by the virus.

Work by biotechnol­ogy firm ILC Therapeuti­cs indicates that Evasins could have the potential to prevent the progressio­n of Acute Respirator­y Distress Syndrome (ARDS), the leading cause of coronaviru­s fatalities.

Early research indicates Evasins may save a patient from a so-called ‘cytokine storm’ affecting the lungs. This can be triggered as a result of the body’s immune system going into overdrive.

The team says that Evasins could act like a ‘fire extinguish­er’ to fight the potentiall­y deadly response.

ILC chief scientific officer Professor William Stimson said: ‘In the case of Covid-19, Evasins could have the potential to work even in extreme conditions of advanced ARDS by putting out the cytokine and chemokine fire raging in the lungs.

This could prevent further damage and potentiall­y save patients’ lives at a highly critical stage of the fight against the virus.’

The study is being split between the BioCity site at Newhouse and Oxford University.

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