Solving COVID: September 30, 2020

The coronavirus appears to have “one big trick,” Shane Crotty, a professor at the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, told Bloomberg. That trick — avoiding the human body’s “initial innate immune response for a significant period of time,” and, particularly, the response of a substance called interferon that typically helps orchestrate the defense against viral pathogens — is linked to more severe cases. Indeed, new studies published in Science found that an insufficient amount of interferon could signal a more dangerous infection. The good news is that researchers see potential for interferon-based therapies, which are typically used in the early stages of a viral infection when it’s easier to avoid life-threatening respiratory failure. Now, dozens of studies focusing on interferon treatments are recruiting COVID-19 patients. [Bloomberg, Science]

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