Natural killer cells attacking a cancer cell (AP Images)

Nat­ur­al killers are com­ing for Covid-19 and the ther­a­py, ex­perts say, could make things worse

When Jimin Gao learned of the lock­down in Wuhan, he went to his lab at Wen­zhou Med­ical Uni­ver­si­ty in South­east Chi­na and or­dered sev­er­al bags of blood. The blood, from the um­bil­i­cal cord of vol­un­teer­ing women, con­tained a part of the im­mune sys­tem known as nat­ur­al killer cells.

Gao ex­tract­ed the NK cells and over the next few weeks de­signed re­cep­tors to at­tach to them, re­cep­tors he the­o­rized would help them find and de­stroy hu­man cells in­fect­ed with the nov­el coro­n­avirus. He then rigged the cells with a pro­tein called IL-15 that would keep them alive in­side a pa­tient.

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