The investigators found that all five SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern—Alpha through Omicron—”remain strongly dependent on antiviral transmembrane proteins, especially IFITM2,” to replicate efficiently and to produce infectious progeny viruses, said Frank Kirchhoff, Ph.D., professor of virology, Ulm University Medical Center, Ulm, Germany.
“In addition, we show that an antibody against IFITM2 can protect human lung cells from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” said Kirchhoff. “Our results suggest that IFITM2 may represent a highly unexpected target for a host-directed therapeutic approach. Targeting cellular factors in the host, rather than viral factors, reduces the risk of emergence of viral resistance.”
The research aimed to find cellular factors that influence SARS-CoV-2 infection and to gain insight into innate immune defense mechanisms, as well as determinants of viral spread and pathogenesis. Innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense—detecting invaders such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and toxins, and then activating antiviral factors and immune cells to attack and destroy these invaders.
Source: Healthcare in Europe