< Therapy

Are there anti-inflammatory drugs available to control the immune response?

Text updated on 2020-05-11

Several anti-inflammatory drugs are being clinically tested.

When a virus infects a person, the body fights back by triggering an immune response. In severe cases, this immune response may be exaggerated and become toxic to the body. One treatment option would be to control the immune response so that it is sufficient to eliminate the coronavirus, but not too strong to prevent the disease from getting worse. Immune processes are thus being studied in patients developing COVID-19 disease.

Immunomodulating drugs with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects (Tocilizumab type), known to treat other diseases (macrophage activation syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis), are currently being tested. Doctors are now seeking to demonstrate their effectiveness in controlling the body's immune response (cytokine storm) and thus limit the progression of the COVID-19 disease and avoid its most serious effects.

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This site lists the vaccines and molecules currently being tested for COVID-19.

Biocentury (last access 20 April 2020)

Study of a cohort of patients with COVID-19 with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al (2020) Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet 395:497-506.

Clinical study on the effects of tocilizumab on patients with COVID-19.

Xu XL, Han MF, et al (2020). Effective Treatment of Severe COVID-19 Patients with Tocilizumab. cChinaXiv chinaXiv:202003.00026v1

Further reading

Is a vaccine available?

Are there antiviral drugs to prevent the coronavirus from multiplying?

What are the current avenues of research to combat the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?