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. 2020 Apr 17;S1286-4579(20)30072-1.
doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2020.04.005. Online ahead of print.

The Potential Role of Th17 Immune Responses in Coronavirus Immunopathology and Vaccine-Induced Immune Enhancement

Free PMC article

The Potential Role of Th17 Immune Responses in Coronavirus Immunopathology and Vaccine-Induced Immune Enhancement

Peter J Hotez et al. Microbes Infect. .
Free PMC article


Increasing evidence points to host Th17 inflammatory responses as contributing to the severe lung pathology and mortality of lower respiratory tract infections from coronaviruses. This includes host inflammatory and cytokine responses to COVID-19 caused by the SARS-2 coronavirus (SARS CoV2). From studies conducted in laboratory animals, there are additional concerns about immune enhancement and the role of potential host immunopathology resulting from experimental human COVID-19 vaccines. Here we summarize evidence suggesting there may be partial overlap between the underlying immunopathologic processes linked to both coronavirus infection and vaccination, and a role for Th17 in immune enhancement and eosinophilic pulmonary immunopathology. Such findings help explain the link between viral-vectored coronavirus vaccines and immune enhancement and its reduction through alum adjuvants. Additional research may also clarify links between COVID-19 pulmonary immunopathology and heart disease.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Competing Interest MEB and PJH have developed subunit vaccines against SARS and MERS coronavirus infections. They are involved in the process of developing a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. DBC is a scientific advisor and holds intellectual property in Atropos Therapeutics, LLC.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Mechanisms of eosinophilic immunopathology linked to viral-vectored coronavirus vaccines.

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