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COVID-19

Spotlight on COVID-19: Vaccine development

Globally, the vaccine development effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of both scale and speed. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines will be essential in reducing morbidity and mortality if/when the virus establishes itself in the population. The race is now on for the development of both a safe and, effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

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COVID-19

Spotlight on COVID-19: Predicted immune responses

Currently, there is very limited knowledge of the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2. However, SARS-Cov-2 shares sequence identity with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV,  similar cell entry mechanisms, and the propensity to induce hyper inflammation in severe cases. Therefore, based on the accumulated clinical and experimental data on these previous viruses, predictions can be made on how the host...

COVID-19

Spotlight on COVID-19: Treatment with repurposed drugs

There are currently no effective drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. The first strategy for the treatment of COVID-19 is the repurposing of existing drugs that are known to be safe in humans. Therapeutic targets against SARS-CoV-2  exist at various stages of the infection including viral attachment, entry, and replication, as well as the host cytokine response.

COVID-19

Spotlight on COVID-19: Infection

Since December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly around the world, causing a pandemic that threatens global public health. The causative agent of COVID-19 is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel β-coronavirus. Globally, the number of positive COVID-19 cases grows exponentially every day and now the race is on to find both an...

Innate Immunity

TLR7 & TLR8: fraternal twins

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a pivotal role in the initiation of anti-infectious immune responses. Distinct pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) are recognized by different TLRs, at the cell surface or in endosomes. TLR7 and TLR8 are endosomal receptors that share structural homology and sense viral single stranded (ss) RNA as well as synthetic base analogs. However, there are...

Innate Immunity / PRR / Inflammasome

NLRP3: a sophisticated drug target

NLRP3 (NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3, cryopyrin or NALP3) is the best described inflammasome sensor and an attractive drug target. NLRP3 assembles into a multiprotein inflammasome complex to induce the secretion of IL-1β/IL-18 and pyroptosis in response to infections and cellular damage. However, NLRP3 inflammasome functions can also be detrimental to the host, as its...

Innate Immunity / PRR

RIG-I & cancer immunotherapy

The development of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has revolutionized cancer immunotherapy, although complete remission remains limited to a small panel of cancers and patients. ICIs act by relieving checkpoint restraints on antitumor T cell responses. They work best against immunogenic, T-cell inflamed or « hot » tumors. In contrast, ICIs are poorly efficient in «cold» tumor...

Antibodies

Immune Checkpoint Blockade: InestimAble Advances

Over the last decade, the understanding of key steps in the regulation of T cell responses has led to the groundbreaking development of immune checkpoint blocking monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to fight cancer. The first FDA-approved mAbs have provided unprecedented remissions in melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer, although with considerable variation in response rates (10% to 90%) and...

Innate Immunity / PRR

AhR's key role in the intestinal microbiota and immunity

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-dependent transcriptional factor widely expressed among immune, epithelial, endothelial and stromal cells in barrier tissues. While historically studied in the context of chemical pollutants such as dioxin, AhR was more recently revealed as a central sensor of a wider range of environmental cues, ensuring intestinal homeostasis between the host...

Cytokines

IL-2: The Activator and Controller

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) plays a crucial role in both regulating immune responses while also maintaining peripheral self-tolerance. It acts primarily as a T cell growth factor, essential for the proliferation and survival of T cells as well as the generation of effector and memory T cells. In addition, the dual functions of IL-2 in both protective immunity and immune tolerance allows IL-2 to be...

Innate Immunity / IFN response

Interferon λs: guardians of the front-lines

Interferons (IFNs) are key cytokines of the innate immune system known for their antiviral and immuno-modulatory properties. Three types of IFNs have been described: type I IFNs which are mainly comprised of IFN-αs and IFN-β, type II IFN or IFN-γ, and the most recently discovered type III IFNs or IFN-λs. Although IFN-α/β and IFN-λs share many overlapping functions, a unique role at the...

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