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Antiviral type I interferons (IFN) produced in the early phase of viral infections effectively inhibit viral replication, prevent virus-mediated tissue damages and promote innate and adaptive immune responses that are all essential to the successful elimination of viruses. As professional type I IFN producing cells, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) have the ability to rapidly produce waste amounts of type I IFNs. Therefore, their low frequency, dysfunction or decreased capacity to produce type I IFNs might increase the risk of severe viral infections. In accordance with that, declined pDC numbers and delayed or inadequate type I IFN responses could be observed in patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as compared to individuals with mild or no symptoms. Thus, besides chronic diseases, all those conditions, which negatively affect the antiviral IFN responses lengthen the list of risk factors for severe COVID-19. In the current review, we would like to briefly discuss the role and dysregulation of pDC/type I IFN axis in COVID-19, and introduce those type I IFN-dependent factors, which account for an increased risk of COVID-19 severity and thus are responsible for the different magnitude of individual immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.


Dóra Bencze, Tünde Fekete, Kitti Pázmándi. Correlation between Type I Interferon Associated Factors and COVID-19 Severity. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Sep 19;23(18)

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PMID: 36142877

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