SARS-CoV-2 genetic and immunology insights: what does the scientific community know so far?

M. Cabrera1,2, M. Salazar-Viedma3 and V.D’Afonseca4
1 Centro de Investigación de Estudios Avanzados del Maule (CIEAM), Vicerrectoría de Investigación y Postgrado, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile

2 Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile
3 Laboratorio de Microbiología y Parasitología, Departamento de Ciencias Preclínicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile
4 Departamento de Ciencias Preclínicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile
Corresponding author: V.D‟Afonseca
Genet. Mol. Res. 21 (4): gmr19003
Received January 03, 2022
Accepted September 11, 2022
Published October 25, 2022
ABSTRACT. The challenge presented by the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen has changed the global perception about virus diseases. In Wuhan, China the first case of the disease called COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) was reported in December 2019 and quickly reached 215 countries. The pathogenic SARS-CoV-2 virus has an RNA genome composed of a positive-sense single-strand, harboring 14 ORFs that encode 50 proteins composed of typical structural proteins. The spike protein, a surface glycoprotein, is essential for the invasion of the causal agent of COVID-19 into the host system. Several variants have specific mutations in protein S that affect transmission processes, diagnosis, and available therapies. Entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the host cell promotes immunological dysregulation with increased expression of interferon type 1 and an exaggerated proinflammatory cytokine event called “cytokine storm”. This event is often associated with deleterious outcomes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. In addition, substantial immunological memory can be generated after initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, involving four major cell types, such as anti-spike protein memory B cells (RBD IgG, IgM), T cells (CD4+ and CD8+) and other molecules, such as antibodies. It is important to collect genetic and immunological information related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provide a global vision and high quality knowledge about the biology and this disease in order to develop effective control measures and treatments.
Key words: COVID-19; Variants; Pandemic; Immunologic response; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

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