IUIS Webinar: Global outbreaks – Interferons as 1st responders


Elenor Fish IUIS Webinar Slide

Did you watch the IUIS Webinar on Interferons as 1st responders by Professor Eleanor Fish (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada).

“Can antivirals that target the host and not the virus improve outcomes for COVID-19 patients?”

Highlights from her talk include:

  • Interferons are the first line of defence against all viral infections.
  • Viruses are detected by different pattern recognition receptors which all lead to induction Type 1 Interferons.
  • Type 1 interferons then activate various immune cells including macrophages, dendritic cells T and B cells, among others.
  • The use of Interferon alphacon1 to improve SARS-CoV resolution during the 2002/3 outbreak. Administration of Interferon αlphacon1 did not lead to cytokine storm. (Loutfy et al., 2003).
  • Results on an unpublished exploratory study (n=77) on potential therapeutics: IFN-α2b (n=7), Arbidol (n=24) or a combination of both (n=46) to improve COVID-19 symptoms conducted in Wuhan China. This study suggested that administration of IFN-α2b improved recovery, viral clearance and reduced inflammatory response.

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineScience Education PrizesElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation