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After plasma therapy, cytokine therapy now being looked at to treat COVID-19

M3 India Newsdesk Jun 01, 2020

Health experts around the world are looking into the use of cytokine therapy as the next big treatment to aid those who have contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

For our comprehensive coverage and latest updates on COVID-19 click here.

Early on researchers were able to discover that cytokine storms played a significant role in those who had contracted SARS-CoV-2. Cytokine storms occur when there is an infection which incites the infected individual’s immune response to send out cytokines to aid in fighting off the invading pathogen. In individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are in the early stages of the disease, introducing cytokines is thought to elicit an immune response when the infection is mild, thereby in theory making it easier for the individual’s immune system to fight off the infection.

Several reports and studies have shown that the lungs of individuals who are COVID-19 positive, show an elevated level of cytokines (cytokine storm) which makes it difficult to treat. Traditionally, corticosteroids would be given to control such a high level of inflammation, however, in the case of COVID-19 this is not applicable. Corticosteroids, when used in an individual with COVID-19, has been shown to cause suppression of the infected person’s immune system, resulting in delay in clearing the viral load. However, in extremely severe cases of COVID-19, use of corticosteroids has been warranted.

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