IFITM3 Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Is Associated with COVID-19 Susceptibility

Viruses. 2022 Nov 18;14(11):2553. doi: 10.3390/v14112553.


SARS-CoV-2 has become a global threat to public health. Infected individuals can be asymptomatic or develop mild to severe symptoms, including pneumonia, respiratory distress, and death. This wide spectrum of clinical presentations of SARS-CoV-2 infection is believed in part due to the polymorphisms of key genetic factors in the population. In this study, we report that the interferon-induced antiviral factor IFITM3 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection by preventing SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein-mediated virus entry and cell-to-cell fusion. Analysis of a Chinese COVID-19 patient cohort demonstrates that the rs12252 CC genotype of IFITM3 is associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection risk in the studied cohort. These data suggest that individuals carrying the rs12252 C allele in the IFITM3 gene may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection and thus may benefit from early medical intervention.

Keywords: COVID-19; IFITM3; SARS-CoV-2; rs12252.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • COVID-19* / genetics
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Membrane Proteins* / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins* / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • IFITM3 protein, human
  • Interferons
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins