A team of scientists conducted a massive global review of COVID-19 data to identify key strategies to treat the dreaded disease. One of these researchers, Masoud Manjili, Ph.D., of VCU Massey Cancer Center, suggested that we treat COVID-19 as an acute inflammatory disease because the severity of the disease appears to be associated by how the immune system response to inflammation.
“Drugs that target the virus or suppress inflammatory immune responses have produced inconsistent results and might not be the best treatment for patients with COVID-19,” said Manjili, according to Scienmag. “Instead, the use of drugs that modulate inflammation without compromising the adaptive immune response could be the most effective therapy.”
The majority of people infected with COVID-19 develop flu-like symptoms and recover. But people over the age of 65 and those with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, are more vulnerable to the ravages of the disease because their immune systems are compromised.
Manjili explained that under normal circumstances, the immune system reacts to an infection with an immediate inflammatory response that lasts between 7-10 days. However, in certain individuals, that response doesn’t return to normal after serving its purpose and may go into overdrive causing tissue or organ damage.
Dr. David Brownstein, a board-certified family physician and editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, told Newsmax that one of the key factors in balancing the immune system is to keep inflammation in check. Many COVID-19 patients became severely ill when the immune system goes into overdrive, releasing a tsunami of molecules called cytokines that while attempting to kill the attacking virus. Instead, when things get out of control, it causes life-threatening inflammation called a “cytokine storm.”
Manjili said that while antiviral therapies like remdesivir and chloroquine may be excellent preventive therapies in the early stages of COVID-19, they may also prevent patients from developing immunity to the disease. He suggested that a better therapeutic route would be to use plasma from those who have recovered from the illness, called convalescent plasma, along with the anti-inflammatory drug, losartan, used to treat high blood pressure. In a national study, patients who received transfusions of convalescent plasma, reduced their mortality rate by 50%, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The combination of losartan with convalescent plasma in symptomatic patients could be a promising strategy for the prevention or treatment of severe clinical symptoms and will allow patients to develop immunity against the virus,” Manjili said, according to Scienmag.
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