Blue toe, a sign of some form of immunity to Covid-19?

Over the past year, the Covid-19 virus has continued to surprise us. With their eyes focused on it, researchers are looking for the slightest information that will allow the epidemic to be contained. The latest hypothesis? While an unusual number of false frostbite in toes has been reported in a dozen countries, these symptoms could be a sign of developing immunity to the virus. A hypothesis put forward by two Swiss researchers that L’Express explains it.

A few months ago, our American neighbors were the ones crouching at our feet. According to their work, 1,000 skin manifestations of Sars-Cov-2 infection were recorded in 39 countries around the world between April and August 2020. “Of these 1,000 patients, half were bluish / purple toes and 16% had bluish-purple toes. “. They were taken to hospital for this reason, “according to specialized media Top Health. Note that the false frostbite associated with SARS-CoV-2 is benign lesions that heal spontaneously within a few weeks. It does not require specific treatments.

But two dermatologists from Vodois University Hospital Center in Switzerland go further. According to them, these “Covid fingers” are not the same as simple symptoms. The researchers debunked their theory of L.Swiss Medical Journal It can be accessed online. They believe that patients with pseudo-frostbite “are predisposed to inducing a strong innate immunity against SARS-CoV-2, making them resistant to infection.” For simplicity: These “Covid fingers” will be a sign of natural resistance to infection.

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Blue Toes: “Collateral Damage” of Immunity

This issue must be taken very seriously. To reach conclusions like these, the researchers crossed a series of data. Dermatologists said: “In more than 40% of cases, people with false frostbite have had close contact with a COVID-19 patient, but are generally negative for testing.” In addition, this type of patient has symptoms rarely and does not often produce antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In the same epidemiological focus, only people with frostbite on their feet were not sick.

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But what causes this swelling on the tips of our feet? Frostbite on the toes is associated with a large secretion of interferon type I, and these proteins significantly regulate the immune response and can prevent the virus from multiplying in the airways. Poor early control of SARS-CoV-2 by IFN-I (type 1 interferons) leads to disease progression to severe form.

“On the other hand, the robust IFN-I response, which is pseudo-frostbite a clinical manifestation, could make some individuals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.AMP,” the researchers note in the Swiss Medical Journal. The study concluded that “pseudo-frostbite is thus collateral damage to exceptional antiviral innate immunity”. This work is important in more than one way because it can stimulate the development of new anti-virus strategies.

So what should we do when our toes turn blue? For concerned patients, don’t worry. If these lesions indicate contact with SARS-CoV-2, then in the vast majority of cases the virus has been eradicated efficiently and quickly. But beware: the presence of this frostbite is not a sign of long-term immunization. Those individuals with these symptoms have not developed antibodies and thus may develop similar lesions upon further contact.


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