COVID-19 and immune system

The author of the study: Dr. Hasan Ejaz

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has become a global threat since its emergence in 2019 from Wuhan, China. As of 1 March 2021, SARS-CoV-2 has affected over 113 million people and has been responsible for more than 2.5 million deaths globally. SARS-CoV-2 can drive the host immune system to its favor for replication and increase the disease severity.

Previous studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can inhibit type I and III interferon production and their signaling pathways, resulting in increased viral growth. The virus induces host cell death and increases proinflammatory mediators’ secretion, leading to severe COVID-19. Therefore, a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunomodulatory strategies will lead to more effective therapeutic countermeasures.

In the review published in BJBMS, the authors conducted a search on PubMed for SARS-CoV-2 proteins contributing to the modulation of host defense mechanisms and current immunomodulation therapy in tackling the issue of immune evasion. They found that SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural and accessory proteins potently antagonize the key components in interferon signaling pathways allowing the virus to replicate safely inside host cells while avoiding immune recognition. Furthermore, these proteins can induce inflammatory cytokines production that may contribute to its severe pathogenesis. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural and accessory can be suitable targets for the development of vaccines and specific therapies.


Abdalla AE, Xie J, Junaid K, Younas S, Elsaman T, Abosalif KOA, Alameen AAM, Mahjoob MO, Elamir MYM, Ejaz H. Insight into the emerging role of SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural and accessory proteins in modulation of multiple mechanisms of host innate defense. Bosn J of Basic Med Sci. 2021

Editor: Edna Skopljak, MD

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