Treatment with Interferon-α2b Speeds Recovery of COVID-19 Patients in Exploratory Study

Treatment with antivirals such as interferons may significantly improve virus clearance and reduce levels of inflammatory proteins in COVID-19 patients, according to a new study published online on May 15, 2020 inn Frontiers in Immunology. The article is titled “Interferon-Alpha2b Treatment for COVID-19.” Researchers conducting an exploratory study on a cohort of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wuhan found that treatment with interferon (IFN)-α2b significantly reduced the du-ration of detectable virus in the upper respiratory tract and reduced blood levels of interleukin(IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), two inflammatory proteins found in the human body. The findings show potential for the development of an effective antiviral intervention for COVID-19, which is an ongoing global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. "Interferons are our first line of defense against any and all viruses - but viruses such as corona-viruses have co-evolved to very specifically block an interferon response", says lead author Eleanor Fish (photo), PhD, of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute & University of Toronto's Department of Immunology, adding: "This informs us of the importance of interferons for the clearance of virus infections. Treatment with interferon will override the inhibitory effects of the virus." Dr. Fish is Director, Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre; Canada Research Chair in Women's Health & Immunobiology; Senior Scientist, Division of Advanced Diagnostics, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network (UHN); and Associate Chair, International Collaborations & Initiatives and Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto.
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