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SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerged coronavirus, causing the global pandemic of respiratory coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The type I interferon (IFN) pathway is of particular importance for anti-viral defence and recent studies identified that type I IFNs drive early inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we use a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, facilitating viral entry by intranasal recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus (rAAV) transduction of hACE2 in wildtype (WT) and type I IFN-signalling-deficient (Ifnar1-/- ) mice, to study type I IFN signalling deficiency and innate immune responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data show that type I IFN signaling is essential for inducing anti-viral effector responses to SARS-CoV-2, control of virus replication and to prevent enhanced disease. Furthermore, hACE2-Ifnar1-/- mice had increased gene expression of the chemokine Cxcl1 and airway infiltration of neutrophils as well as a reduced and delayed production of monocyte-recruiting chemokine CCL2. hACE2-Ifnar1-/- mice showed altered recruitment of inflammatory myeloid cells to the lung upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a shift from Ly6C+ to Ly6C- expressing cells. Together, our findings suggest that type I IFN deficiency results in a dysregulated innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date



In vivo, Innate Immune Response/ type I IFN, SARS-CoV-2/ myeloid cells