Big news: A pair of new papers confirm scientists’ hunch that the body’s “vanguard virus fighter”—type I interferon—is out of action in severe COVID-19 cases.
The papers found that in some of the sickest patients, the interferon response was hampered by genetic flaws, or under attack from “rogue antibodies.”
Another telling finding: Men—who have been harder-hit by COVID-19 than women—made up 94% of patients with the interferon-attacking antibodies.
- Synthetic interferons may help at-risk patients.
- Testing for the damaging antibodies could help spot high-risk individuals.
- Potential convalescent plasma donors found to harbor these antibodies should be ruled out.