The team focused on cytokines, small proteins released in the body in response to inflammation. They concentrated on the most elevated cytokines in COVID-19 patients and found one duo that stood out.
Turns out, the drugs to treat these cytokine reactions, or cytokine storms, already exist.
When tried on mice, the medication protected them from COVID-19 death and from sepsis, a deadly infection of the blood.
“I’ve never been this excited in my entire career,” St. Jude researcher, Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D, told WMC Action News 5, “because this can save lives. The other studies that we have in our lab, they might go into textbooks, and in the long run, they might be in the clinic. But this immediate application is the best thing. I wish starting tomorrow we could treat patients with this.”