Scientists find more effective COVID-19 treatment

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In a new study from the University of Colorado, researchers examined a key aspect of the immune system during COVID-19: the interferon response.

They found more effective COVID-19 treatment with immune-modulatory drugs.

Interferons (IFNs) are signaling proteins produced by a host cell to activate the antiviral defenses within the body.

If the immune response, including the production of IFNs, is unable to clear the virus, the immune system continues to fight. However, a prolonged and exacerbated immune response can cause organ damage and even death.

In the study, the team used blood samples and data from patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

They were able to measure 12 different IFNs and track their activities throughout the course of COVID-19 by defining associations with thousands of RNAs, proteins, antibodies, metabolites, and immune cells measured in the same blood samples.

They found different IFNs being associated with different pathological processes in COVID-19 disease.

The team says that not all IFNs are created equal and that different IFNs likely modulate diverse aspects of the immune response at distinct stages of COVID-19.

Therefore, immune-modulatory strategies must consider the stage of disease and the IFN subtypes being produced by the patient.

The FDA has approved the emergency use authorization for the drug baricitinib for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.

Baricitinib is a janus kinase inhibitor (JAK inhibitor) that suppresses the action of IFNs and other inflammatory processes.

However, it is not clear which patients would benefit the most from this therapy and why suppressing the immune response in this way is often beneficial.

The team believes the results from this study are a big step toward better understanding how to treat severe COVID-19 with JAK inhibitors and other immune-modulatory medicines.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about drugs that may reduce COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, and drugs that could help treat COVID-19.

For more information about Covid, please see recent studies about two paths toward ‘super immunity’ to COVID-19, and results showing that CBD from cannabis may inhibit COVID-19 infection.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was conducted by Joaquin Espinosa et al.

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