Immunopathogenesis and immunobiology of SARS-CoV-2

Publication Name

Infezioni in Medicina


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), in a very short span of thirteen months has taken a considerable toll on humanity, resulting in over 3 million deaths with more than 150 million confirmed cases as on May 1, 2021. In the scarcity of a potential antiviral and protective vaccine, COVID-19 has posed high public health concerns, panic, and challenges to limit the spread of this pandemic virus. Only recently have a few vaccine candidates been developed, and vaccination programs have started in some countries. Multiple clinical presentations of COVID-19, animal spillover, cross-species jumping, zoonotic concerns, and emergence of virus variants have altogether created havoc during this ongoing pandemic. Several bodies of research are continuously working to elucidate the exact molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis. To develop a prospective antiviral therapy/vaccine for SARSCoV- 2, it is quite essential to gain insight into the immunobiology and molecular virology of SARS-CoV-2. A thorough literature search was conducted up to 28th February 2021 in the PubMed and other databases forthe articles describing the immunopathology and immune response of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which were critically evaluated and used to compile this article to present an overall update. Some of the information was drawn from studies on previous MERS and SARS viruses. Innate as well as adaptive immunity responses are elicited by exposure to SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 establishes a successful infection by escaping the host immunity as well as over activating the innate immune mechanisms that result in severe disease outcomes, including cytokine storm. This review summarizes the immunopathology and molecular immune mechanisms elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection, and their similarities with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

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