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Impaired type I interferon activity and inflammatory responses in severe COVID-19 patients

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Science  13 Jul 2020:
eabc6027
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc6027

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is characterized by distinct patterns of disease progression suggesting diverse host immune responses. We performed an integrated immune analysis on a cohort of 50 COVID-19 patients with various disease severity. A unique phenotype was observed in severe and critical patients, consisting of a highly impaired interferon (IFN) type I response (characterized by no IFN-β and low IFN-α production and activity), associated with a persistent blood viral load and an exacerbated inflammatory response. Inflammation was partially driven by the transcriptional factor NF-κB and characterized by increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 production and signaling. These data suggest that type-I IFN deficiency in the blood could be a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and provide a rationale for combined therapeutic approaches.

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