Targeting of the CD80/86 proinflammatory axis as a therapeutic strategy to prevent severe COVID-19

Academic Article


  • An excessive immune response known as cytokine storm is the hallmark of severe COVID-19. The cause of this cytokine rampage is yet not known. Based on recent epidemiological evidence, we hypothesized that CD80/86 signaling is essential for this hyperinflammation, and that blocking this proinflammatory axis could be an effective therapeutic approach to protect against severe COVID-19. Here we provide exploratory evidence that abatacept, a drug that blocks CD80/86 co-stimulation, produces changes at the systemic level that are highly antagonistic of the proinflammatory processes elicited by COVID-19. Using RNA-seq from blood samples from a longitudinal cohort of n = 38 rheumatic patients treated with abatacept, we determined the immunological processes that are significantly regulated by this treatment. We then analyzed available blood RNA-seq from two COVID19 patient cohorts, a very early cohort from the epicenter of the pandemic in China (n = 3 COVID-19 cases and n = 3 controls), and a recent and larger cohort from the USA (n = 49 severe and n = 51 mild COVD-19 patients). We found a highly significant antagonism between SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity with the systemic response to abatacept. Analysis of previous single-cell RNA-seq data from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from mild and severe COVID-19 patients and controls, reinforce the implication of the CD80/86 proinflammatory axis. Our functional results further support abatacept as a candidate therapeutic approach to prevent severe COVID-19.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 18919520
  • Author List

  • Julià A; Bonafonte-Pardàs I; Gómez A; López-Lasanta M; López-Corbeto M; Martínez-Mateu SH; Lladós J; Rodríguez-Nunez I; Myers RM; Marsal S
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1