Differential induction of type I and III interferon genes in the upper respiratory tract of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Carolina Scagnolari, Alessandra Pierangeli, Federica Frasca, Camilla Bitossi, Agnese Viscido, Giuseppe Oliveto, Mirko Scordio, Laura Mazzuti, Daniele Di Carlo, Massimo Gentile, Angelo Solimini, Giancarlo Ceccarelli, Francesco Pugliese, Claudio Maria Mastroianni, Gabriella d'Ettorre, Ombretta Turriziani, Guido Antonelli
Virus Research 2021 January 5, : 198283
The natural course of type I and III interferon (IFN) response in the respiratory tract of COVID-19 patients needs to be better defined. We showed that type I/III IFNs, IFN-regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7), and IFN stimulated genes (ISGs), are highly expressed in the oropharyngeal cells of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients compared to healthy controls. Notably, the subgroup of critically-ill patients that required invasive mechanical ventilation had a general decrease in expression of IFN/ISG genes. Heterogeneous patterns of IFN-I/III response in the respiratory tract of COVID-19 patients may be associated to COVID-19 severity.

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