COVID-19 and emerging viral infections: The case for interferon lambda

J Exp Med. 2020 May 4;217(5):e20200653. doi: 10.1084/jem.20200653.


With the first reports on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the scientific community working in the field of type III IFNs (IFN-λ) realized that this class of IFNs could play an important role in this and other emerging viral infections. In this Viewpoint, we present our opinion on the benefits and potential limitations of using IFN-λ to prevent, limit, and treat these dangerous viral infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / physiology*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / metabolism*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus Internalization


  • Interferons