Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The ability of our cells to secrete type I interferons (IFN-Is) is essential for the control of virus replication and for effective antiviral immune responses; for this reason, viruses have evolved the means to antagonize IFN-I. Inhibition of IFN-I production is pronounced in SARS-CoV-2 infection, which can impair the adaptive immune response and exacerbate inflammatory disease at late stages of infection. However, therapeutic boosting of IFN-I offers a narrow time window for efficacy and safety. Here, we discuss how limits placed on IFN-I by SARS-CoV-2 shape the immune response and whether this might be countered with therapeutic approaches and vaccine design.
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