In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors tried different medicines to find what could help save lives from the virus. Researchers also worked hard to understand the body’s response to the virus and create helpful drugs and vaccines. They found that a common steroid called dexamethasone could save lives in very sick COVID-19 patients, but they didn’t know why.
In 2020, a group of researchers at the University of Cincinnati, led by Ameet Chimote, started to study how dexamethasone helps COVID-19 patients. They had previously worked on cancer research, focusing on how certain molecules on immune cells can become weaker. During the pandemic lockdown, they decided to use their knowledge to help understand COVID-19 better.
Severe COVID-19 patients often have a dangerous immune response called a “cytokine storm,” which can damage the lungs and make it hard to breathe. A study in 2020 showed that dexamethasone could help stop these cytokine storms and save lives.
The researchers wanted to find out how dexamethasone was able to help. They looked at blood samples from COVID-19 patients and found that the steroid stopped many of the genes that caused the cytokine storm. It also affected the molecules on immune cells, which helped prevent the immune cells from damaging the patient’s lungs.
As the COVID-19 virus keeps changing, it’s important to find more targeted treatments. The researchers suggest that drugs currently being tested for autoimmune diseases might also help treat severe COVID-19 cases. More research is needed to understand the immune system’s role in long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms.
Key Takeaways in a Nutshell – Health Newstrack
– Dexamethasone, a common steroid, was found to save lives in very sick COVID-19 patients by stopping dangerous immune responses called “cytokine storms.”
– University of Cincinnati researchers discovered that dexamethasone stopped many genes causing cytokine storms and affected molecules on immune cells, preventing lung damage.
– As the COVID-19 virus continues to change, finding more targeted treatments is crucial. Drugs being tested for autoimmune diseases might also help treat severe COVID-19 cases.