In DepthCOVID-19

Can interferons stop COVID-19 before it takes hold?

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Science  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6500, pp. 125-126
DOI: 10.1126/science.369.6500.125


A small flurry of recent reports suggests the novel coronavirus does some of its deadly work by disabling interferons, powerful proteins that are the body's own frontline defenders against viral invasion. If so, synthetic interferons, given before or soon after infection, may tame the virus before it causes serious disease. Despite their tough side effects, such drugs have long been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for fighting cancer and other diseases. And dozens of trials are now deploying them, many looking to see whether they can prevent infection—or keep mild cases from turning into deadly events. If there is good news from any of them, it will be welcome: there only two scientifically validated COVID-19 therapies were shown to be effective only in later-stage, hospitalized patients.

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