Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Clocks, viruses, and immunity: lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-24, 10:34 authored by Shaon Sengupta, Louise Ince, Francesca Sartor, Helene Borrmann, Xiaodong Zhuang, Amruta Naik, Annie CurtisAnnie Curtis, Jane A McKeating
Circadian rhythms are evolutionarily conserved anticipatory systems that allow the host to prepare and respond to threats in its environment. This article summarizes a European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) workshop held in July 2020 to review current knowledge of the interplay between the circadian clock and viral infections to inform therapeutic strategies against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. A large body of work supports the role of the circadian clock in regulating various aspects of viral replication, host responses, and associated pathogenesis. We review the evidence describing the multifaceted role of the circadian clock, spanning host susceptibility, antiviral mechanisms, and host resilience. Finally, we define the most pressing research questions and how our knowledge of chronobiology can inform key translational research priorities.



Wellcome Trust DPhil program in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine

“Life” initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation

Wellcome Trust IA 200838/Z/16/Z

MRC project grant MR/R022011/1

Science Foundation Ireland Career Development Award (17/CDA/4688)

Irish Research Council Laureate Award (IRCLA/2017/110)

Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2- 002)



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Published Citation

Sengupta S, Ince L, Sartor F, Borrmann H, Zhuang X, Naik A, Curtis A, McKeating JA. Clocks, viruses, and immunity: lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2021;36(1):23-34.

Publication Date

22 January 2021

PubMed ID



  • RCSI Tissue Engineering Group (TERG)
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

Research Area

  • Vascular Biology
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation


SAGE Publications


  • Published Version (Version of Record)