Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

COVID-19: Role of the Interferons

Version 1 : Received: 30 July 2020 / Approved: 2 August 2020 / Online: 2 August 2020 (11:31:40 CEST)

How to cite: Gallo, C.G.; Fiorino, S.; Posabella, G.; Antonacci, D.; Tropeano, A.; Pausini, E.; Pausini, C.; Guarniero, T.; Zancanaro, M. COVID-19: Role of the Interferons. Preprints 2020, 2020080018 Gallo, C.G.; Fiorino, S.; Posabella, G.; Antonacci, D.; Tropeano, A.; Pausini, E.; Pausini, C.; Guarniero, T.; Zancanaro, M. COVID-19: Role of the Interferons. Preprints 2020, 2020080018

Abstract

COVID-19 disease, caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus, is a potentially fatal disease that represents a serious public health and economic problem worldwide. The SARS-CoV2 virus infects the lower respiratory tract and can cause pneumonia in humans. ARDS is the leading cause of death in COVID-19 disease. One of the main characteristics of ARDS is the cytokine storm, an uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response resulting from the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and growth factors, by immune cells. The other important aspect of the disease is represented by the involvement of the vascular organ that undergoes endothelitis. Hyperinflammation and endothelitis contribute in various ways to trigger coagulation disorders with diffuse micro thrombotic and thromboembolic phenomena. Lastly, multiple organ failure may occur (MOF). Since so far there is no approved treatment, there is an urgent need to reposition known treatments, considered safe, to be included in trials. Naturally produced interferons represent the body's first line of defense against viruses. Pharmacological forms, obtained by means of genetic recombination techniques, have long been approved and used to treat numerous pathologies. Interferons are divided into three families, within which some subfamilies are distinguishable. Only IFN-II comprises a single isoform which has completely different aspects and functions. The IFN I and III, however, each comprise different subfamilies (17 subfamilies the IFN-I and 4 subfamilies the IFN-III), share many aspects, representing the body's first antiviral response, but play different roles. The use of IFNs has been studied in two severe hCoV (Human Coronavirus) diseases, closely related to COVID-19 disease, such as SARS and MERS. Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have been conducted, often in combination with other antivirals. The results have been controversial. The positive results in vitro and in experimental animals were often not replicable in humans. The possible positioning of these molecules in the right window of therapeutic opportunity requires that the complex dialogue between IFN, inflammasome, cytokines, pro-inflammatory chemokines, growth factors and barrier function be shed light.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; SARS CoV-2; IFN-⍺; IFN-β; IFN-λ

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