10/18 News Flash 6: SARS-CoV-2 disrupts splicing, translation, and protein trafficking to suppress host defenses

Graphic by Tai Michaels.

The pathology behind SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is still relatively unknown to researchers. However, scientists at the California Institute of Technology have compiled a comprehensive guide to the interactions between the virus’ proteins and human RNAs. At the expense of naming all of the proteins involved, it suffices to say that SARS-CoV-2 makes use of several pathways that work together to interfere with RNA processes and protein trafficking, therefore antagonizing “essential cellular processes to suppress host defenses”. It has been found that the extent to which these immune pathways are suppressed can serve as a major clinical determinant of the virus’ severity within patients.