Prof. Xuetao Cao Published Comments on “Nature Reviews Immunology”


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a newly emergent respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has recently become a major pandemic. According to the update on  April 10th, 2020, the total number of confirmed global cases has reached more than 1.6 million, including 96 thousand deaths. The figure is updated dayto-day and is predicted to increase further. However, people’s understanding of COVID-19’s immunopathology and its implications for therapy is still limited.

Most patients with COVID-19 exhibit mild to moderate symptoms, but approximately 15% progress to severe pneumonia and about 5% eventually develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock and/or multiple organ failure. The mainstay of clinical treatment consists of symptomatic management and oxygen therapy, with mechanical ventilation for patients with respiratory failure. Although several antiviral drugs, including the nucleotide analogue remdesivir, are being actively tested, none has been specifically approved for COVID-19. In addition to vaccine development and approaches that directly target the virus or block viral entry, treatments that address the immunopathology of the infection have become a major focus.

Recently, Professor Xuetao Cao was invited to publish his comments in an article entitled“COVID-19: immunopathology and its implications for therapy” on “Nature Reviews Immunology”. This article introduces  COVID-19’s viral infection, the immunopathological characteristics of patients and the implications for therapy. The article also looks to the future research and development of immunological drugs against  COVID-19 as well as the discovery and application of potential targets for therapy.

 “Nature Reviews Immunology” (IF 44) is a subordinate journal to “Nature”. It has a tradition of inviting influential scientists to write articles. This is the second time that Prof. Xuetao Cao was invited to publish an article in “Nature Reviews Immunology” with Nankai University as an affiliate. In March last year, he published a 16 page review article on epigenetic regulation of the innate immune response to infection.

In a special interview for from “China Science Daily” on his comments, Prof. Xuetao Cao introduced the context and major points in his article. He answered questions from the perspective of immunology and talked about his advice for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic the world is facing. He believes that a particular reason why China has controlled the epidemic so successfully is because of China’s power in social organization. When the order from the CPC Central Committee and the State Council was released, all social organizations actively responded immediately and participation was pragmatic nationwide.  At the same time, scientific and technological research also make a great contribution. That’s why the epidemic contagion could be controlled in time. Such institutional advantage will be hard to match in other countries. He emphasized that many problems still exist in the fight against the epidemic. To solve these problems, independent innovation and international scientific cooperation are of vital importance.

Link to the article:

(Translated by Yuchen Shi, Edited by A.J.Strong and JianjingYun)