Possible explanation for milder courses in omicron variants

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Frankfurt researchers have identified a possible cause of milder disease courses in the omicron variant of the corona virus.

Cell experiments have shown that Omicron is particularly sensitive to the so-called interferon response in humans compared to the predecessor variant Delta, the University Hospital in Frankfurt reported. Interferons are part of the immune system.

The Frankfurt researchers, together with a team from the British University of Kent, published their findings in the journal Cell Research. “Apparently, unlike Delta, Omicron cannot prevent the affected cells from producing and secreting interferon,” Martin Michaelis of the University of Kent’s School of Bioscience said, according to the release.

Cells affected by viruses produce certain interferons. Simply put, these are messenger substances that, among other things, inform other cells about the invader. Interferons are important for the nonspecific immune response – that is, a very rapid, though less specific, reaction of the immune system against a pathogen.

The nonspecific immune response is to be distinguished from the specific immune response, which takes more time to build up. Among other things, precisely fitting antibodies are formed against the pathogen.

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