What Are Autoantibodies? The Latest Risk Factor For Severe Covid-19

We know that people who are older, obese, immunocompromised, pregnant, or diabetic are at greater risk of developing severe Covid-19. Now evidence has emerged that establishes another determinant of risk—something that isn’t inherited, but acquired over a lifetime. That is the inability to mount a robust interferon response.

Interferons play a critical role in defending our bodies against invading pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. They function as warning signals, alerting the immune system whenever an intruder is on sight. Some people, however, develop what are called autoantibodies against their own interferons—and research shows that they’re more susceptible than most to the more devastating effects of Covid-19, including death.

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Originally published on Forbes (November 3, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.