Natural immunity plays a critical role in protecting us from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Interferons (IFNs) constitute a significant part of the anti-viral innate defense system. To establish an infection, SARS-CoV-2 needs to cross this defense mechanism of interferons.
The molecular patterns of viral pathogens are recognized by pattern recognition receptors which leads to the activation of signal cascades. This causes the induction and secretion of IFNs as well as other pro-inflammatory cytokines.