According to the Yale-led study, patients with the COVID-19 infection may have fewer antiviral defenses compared to patients who previously had a common cold before getting infected with Coronavirus. Early response molecules may help stop the reproduction of the SARS-CoV-2.
The scientists demonstrated how the common cold slows the attack of the COVID-19 virus by stimulating the immune system. The rhinovirus causes the common cold. It also protects against the COVID-19 virus, Yale scientists discovered. SARS-CoV-2, also known as the Coronavirus, causes COVID-19. It enters our body through the mouth or nose and starts its first wave of replication in the respiratory tract. Before any symptoms of Coronavirus disease appear, the virus clearly exhibits a clever ability to avoid detection from the body’s defense mechanisms.
What’s Interferons Role?
In our body, we have more immediate cellular mechanisms that act as an alarm against viral infection. If a cell is infected by the virus, it generates interferons that act as a type of emergency signal. It allows nearby cells to know that a virus invader is close. Interferons play several important roles, particularly supporting orchestrate immune cell activities. The research was led by a team of scientists from Yale University School of Medicine, first, they committed to understanding what happens in the first few days after COVID-19 infections. To find this, scientists looked at patients who underwent regular preoperative COVID-19 screening and let them catch pre-symptomatic subjects at the beginning stages of infection.
Common Cold Helps People COVID Fight
The senior author of the study, Ellen Foxman said that triggering these defenses within a few days of SARS-CoV-2 infection may help prevent or treat the infection. Treating patients with interferons(an immune system protein) is one way to trigger these defenses. It is available as a drug. Foxman said it depends on the timing. The findings were published on June 15 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The previous research by Foxman’s lab showed that a common cold virus may prevent people from influenza. They decided to continue their study on rhinoviruses to prove that it would have similar benefits against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Researchers infected lab-grown human airway tissue with the COVID-19 virus. They discovered in the first three days that the viral load in the tissue doubled every six hours. The replication of the SARS-CoV-2 was stopped in tissue that has been exposed to rhinovirus.
The same antiviral defenses slowed down the COVID-19 virus without rhinovirus, but it can happen only if the infectious dose was low. Foxman said interferon treatment can show better results. But it can be tricky because it can be more effective in the early days after infection. Interferon treatment can be useful to people at high risk with COVID-19. This treatment will not be effective if it is given later.
However, the study results enlighten that viruses can interfere or interact with one another. The study also shows why some people will have mild symptoms or have asymptomatic COVID-19 infections while others experience severe diseases. Foxman said it is a puzzle because there are hidden interactions between viruses that we do not understand.