Leveraging the antiviral type I interferon system as a first line of defense against SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity

Hoagland DA, Møller R, Uhl SA, Oishi K, Frere J, Golynker I, Horiuchi S, Panis M, Blanco-Melo D, Sachs D, Arkun K, Lim JK, tenOever BR.

Immunity 09/03/2021

PMID: 33577760


The emergence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in significant global morbidity, mortality, and societal disruption. A better understanding of virus-host interactions may potentiate therapeutic insights toward limiting this infection. Here we investigated the dynamics of the systemic response to SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters by histological analysis and transcriptional profiling. Infection resulted in consistently high levels of virus in the upper and lower respiratory tracts and sporadic occurrence in other distal tissues. A longitudinal cohort revealed a wave of inflammation, including a type I interferon (IFN-I) response, that was evident in all tissues regardless of viral presence but was insufficient to prevent disease progression. Bolstering the antiviral response with intranasal administration of recombinant IFN-I reduced viral disease, prevented transmission, and lowered inflammation in vivo. This study defines the systemic host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and supports use of intranasal IFN-I as an effective means of early treatment.