PRESS RELEASE to new Nature article: SARS-CoV-2 disrupts timing of immune response

PRESS RELEASE to new Nature article: SARS-CoV-2 disrupts timing of immune response

October 25, 2021

Once an infection is under control, the body normally uses a biochemical messenger known as TGFβ to downgrade its immune response. In severe COVID-19, however, this messenger is released at the very beginning of the infection, thus blocking the early control of the pathogen by the innate immune system. This was the conclusion of a study by Charité and the Leibniz Association’s German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin (DRFZ), which has now been published in Nature. The early production of the immune-dampening TGFβ messenger appears to be a hallmark of COVID-19 and has not been observed in other types of pneumonia. Correction of the immune system’s faulty timing may therefore offer a new strategy for preventing severe disease.

Witkowski M et al. Untimely TGFβ responses in severe COVID-19 limit antiviral function of NK cells. Nature (2021), doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04142-6

Full text of the press release at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin