Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital say they’ve found a possible COVID-19 treatment. The virus triggers severe inflammation that cripples the lungs and damages other organs. The researchers demonstrated the “process driving life-threatening inflammation, lung damage and organ failure in patients with COVID-19, sepsis and other inflammatory disorders” could possibly be treated using existing drugs. “Understanding the pathways and mechanism driving this inflammation is critical to develop effective treatment strategies” author Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., vice chair of the St. Jude Department of Immunology in a study said. The other authors of the study are Shraddha Tuladhar, Parimal Samir, Min Zheng, Balamurugan Sundaram, Balaji Banoth, R. K. Subbarao Malireddi, Patrick Schreiner, Geoffrey Neale, Peter Vogel, and Richard Webby, of St. Jude; and Evan Peter Williams, Lillian Zalduondo, and Colleen Beth Jonsson, of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
St. Jude investigators “tried 28 cytokine combinations and found just one duo that, working together, induced a form of inflammatory cell death previously described by Kanneganti as PANoptosis. Therapies that target this cytokine combination are candidates for rapid clinical trials for treatment of not only COVID-19, but several other often fatal disorders associated with cytokine storm. The specific drugs combination will be used in clinical trials on COVID-19 patients. If that goes well, FDA approval is the next step.