Mild courses of infection in the omicron variant may also be due to a special weakness of the virus: unlike the previous variants, the omicron reacts sensitively to the cell’s defense mechanism, the so-called interferon response. This arises from experiments on cell cultures, in which a group of scientists compared infection to omicron and delta variables.
The team represented Denisa Bozhkova from Goethe University in Frankfurt in the magazine “Cell Reports” The test showed that the cells slowed down the spread of the virus with the help of interferon. The cell makes interferon when a viral infection occurs, thus activating other defense mechanisms. Previous variants of Sars-CoV-2 effectively paralyzed the response to this interferon, for example by preventing the cell from producing alarm substances.
It now appears that the Omicron variant has lost some of this ability, which is likely why the body is fighting it more efficiently. The team writes in a paper that this explains for the first time why patients with the omicron variant develop less severe disease. press release.
The study also showed that eight important antiviral agents already being developed or approved to treat Covid-19 also effectively inhibit the new omicron variant. Tested on EIDD-1931 (molnopiravir metabolite), ribavirin, remdesivir, favipiravir, PF-07321332 (nirmatilvir, paxlovide component), and the protease inhibitors nafamostat, camostat, and aprotinin. They all showed similar effects against the omicron variant versus the delta variant.
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