The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presents the medical community with a significant challenge. COVID-19 is an entirely new disease with disparate clinical manifestations that are difficult to reconcile with a single pathogenic principle. Here, we explain how the flexible paradigm of the “damage-response framework” (DRF) of microbial pathogenesis can organize the varied manifestations of COVID-19 into a synthesis that accounts for differences in susceptibility of vulnerable populations as well as for differing manifestations of COVID-19 disease. By focusing on mechanisms of host damage, particularly immune-mediated damage, the DRF provides a lens to understand COVID-19 pathogenesis and to consider how potential therapies could alter the outcome of this disease.
- Viral pathogenesis
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