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Background: The emergence and the spread of the novel coronavirus or the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a devastating impact on the economy and has become a pressing issue globally. Due to the significant increase in the number of confirmed cases and death tolls worldwide, and certain countries reporting second waves, there is an immediate need for an effective vaccine or other therapeutic intervention to control the spread of the disease. Improving our understanding on the host’s anti-viral immune response on SARS-CoV-2 infection, the potential immune evasion mechanisms adopted by the virus, and the speculated role of antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis will aid in identifying and designing effective therapeutics.
Aim: This review aims to provide an in-depth view of the current knowledge available on the range of host defense mechanisms activated by SARS-CoV-2 infection and various immune evasion mechanisms utilized by the virus. In addition, it also highlights the postulated role of ADE in viral pathogenesis and covers the different preventive and therapeutic options available for the treatment of COVID-19 based on current literature.
Discussion: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic serves as a timely reminder on the constant evolutionary process the virus undergoes to emerge as a novel strain and to spread undetected within the population. Similar to other infectious diseases, the host defence mechanism is triggered, and it plays a central role in dampening viral replication by recruiting immune cells and activating anti-viral mechanisms to control the spread of infection by SARS-CoV-2. However, the virus has adopted different immune evasion mechanisms to circumvent host surveillance to successfully establish infection. Hence, understanding the host’s immune responses triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection is critical for identifying and designing novel and effective therapeutics. Currently, over 70% of the population are either asymptomatic or they showcase mild to moderate symptoms and reasons for why some people can mount immune responses more quickly than others are unknown. However, a growing body of research speculates that the ADE mechanism may facilitate the SARS-CoV-2 entry and can contribute to severe clinical manifestations. With the constant rise in the number of confirmed cases, there is an immediate need for an effective vaccine to mitigate the spread of the virus. Presently, there is no treatment for COVID-19 although several vaccine candidates are in clinical trials. Therefore, preventive measures like social distancing, isolation, and travel restrictions, may be the key to controlling the rapid spread of COVID-19.
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