Role of Host Immune and Inflammatory Responses in COVID-19 Cases with Underlying Primary Immunodeficiency: A Review

Benjamin M Liu, Harry R Hill
Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research 2020, 40 (12): 549-554
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly and become a pandemic. Caused by a novel human coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), severe COVID-19 is characterized by cytokine storm syndromes due to innate immune activation. Primary immunodeficiency (PID) cases represent a special patient population whose impaired immune system might make them susceptible to severe infections, posing a higher risk to COVID-19, but this could also lead to suppressed inflammatory responses and cytokine storm. It remains an open question as to whether the impaired immune system constitutes a predisposing or protective factor for PID patients when facing SARS-CoV-2 infection. After literature review, it was found that, similar to other patient populations with different comorbidities, PID patients may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Their varied immune status, however, may lead to different disease severity and outcomes after SARS-CoV-2 infection. PID patients with deficiency in antiviral innate immune signaling [eg, Toll-like receptor (TLR)3, TLR7, or interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7)] or interferon signaling (IFNAR2) may be linked to severe COVID-19. Because of its anti-infection, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects, routine intravenous immunoglobulin therapy may provide some protective effects to the PID patients.

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