Viral infections are less frequent but more severe in people with Down syndrome due to oscillating immune response

Individuals with Down syndrome have less-frequent viral infections, but when present, these infections lead to more severe disease. New findings show that this is caused by increased expression of an antiviral cytokine type I interferon (IFN-I), which is partially coded for by chromosome 21. Elevated IFN-I levels lead to hyperactivity of the immune response initially, but the body overcorrects for this to reduce inflammation, leading to increased vulnerability later in the viral attack.

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