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Adaptive immunity and the risk of autoreactivity in covid-19


Moody, R and Wilson, K and Flanagan, K and Jaworowski, A, Adaptive immunity and the risk of autoreactivity in covid-19, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22, (16) pp. 1-12. ISSN 1661-6596 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijms22168965


While first and foremost considered a respiratory infection, COVID-19 can result in complications affecting multiple organs. Immune responses in COVID-19 can both protect against the disease as well as drive it. Insights into these responses, and specifically the targets being recognised by the immune system, are of vital importance in understanding the side effects of COVID-19 and associated pathologies. The body's adaptive immunity recognises and responds against specific targets (antigens) expressed by foreign pathogens, but not usually to target self-antigens. However, if the immune system becomes dysfunctional, adaptive immune cells can react to self-antigens, which can result in autoimmune disease. Viral infections are well reported to be associated with, or exacerbate, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In COVID-19 patients, both new onset MS and SLE, as well as the occurrence of other autoimmune-like pathologies, have been reported. Additionally, the presence of autoantibodies, both with and without known associations to autoimmune diseases, have been found. Herein we describe the mechanisms of virally induced autoimmunity and summarise some of the emerging reports on the autoimmune-like diseases and autoreactivity that is reported to be associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, autoimmunity, autoantibodies, molecular mimicry
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Biochemistry and cell biology
Research Field:Cell metabolism
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Prevention of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Flanagan, K (Dr Katie Flanagan)
ID Code:152105
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-11
Last Modified:2022-09-05
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