Immune response of frontline medical workers providing medical support for Wuhan COVID-19 patients, China

Int Immunopharmacol. 2021 Feb 16;94:107479. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107479. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) posed a great challenge and stress to frontline medical workers in China. Stress is closely related to immunity. However, the immune response of frontline medical workers providing medical support for COVID-19 patients is unclear. Here, we reported the immune response of 76 frontline medical workers and 152 controls from the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University. The frontline medical workers were involved in the care for Wuhan COVID-19 patients from February 8 to March 31, 2020 in Tongji Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. The controls were medical workers of our hospital who had not been in contact with COVID-19 patients during the same period. Demographic and clinical data, including routine blood test data were extracted from the electronic health examination record and retrospectively analyzed. The post-stress frontline medical workers had higher lymphocyte (LYM) count compared with controls or pre-stress. However, the post-stress frontline medical workers had lower monocyte (MONO) count, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), monocyte to lymphocyte ratio (MLR) and neutrophil (NEUT) ratio than controls or pre-stress. Interestingly, we found the differences were more significantly in female subgroup and nurse subgroup. Together, these data indicated that changes of immune response were found in frontline medical workers providing medical support for Wuhan COVID-19 patients, especially in females and nurses. Those maybe caused by psychological stress and we recommend to pay more attention to mental health of frontline medical workers, and provide appropriate psychological interventions for them.

PMID:33618296 | DOI:10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107479