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      Cytokine Storm in COVID-19: The Current Evidence and Treatment Strategies

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          Abstract

          Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) is the pathogen that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of 25 May 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused 347,192 deaths around the world. The current evidence showed that severely ill patients tend to have a high concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-6, compared to those who are moderately ill. The high level of cytokines also indicates a poor prognosis in COVID-19. Besides, excessive infiltration of pro-inflammatory cells, mainly involving macrophages and T-helper 17 cells, has been found in lung tissues of patients with COVID-19 by postmortem examination. Recently, increasing studies indicate that the “cytokine storm” may contribute to the mortality of COVID-19. Here, we summarize the clinical and pathologic features of the cytokine storm in COVID-19. Our review shows that SARS-Cov-2 selectively induces a high level of IL-6 and results in the exhaustion of lymphocytes. The current evidence indicates that tocilizumab, an IL-6 inhibitor, is relatively effective and safe. Besides, corticosteroids, programmed cell death protein (PD)-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibition, cytokine-adsorption devices, intravenous immunoglobulin, and antimalarial agents could be potentially useful and reliable approaches to counteract cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.

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          Most cited references 137

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          Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

          Summary Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by WHO and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not. Findings By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0–58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0–13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies. Funding Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.
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            Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China

            Abstract Background Since December 2019, when coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China, data have been needed on the clinical characteristics of the affected patients. Methods We extracted data regarding 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 from 552 hospitals in 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in mainland China through January 29, 2020. The primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the use of mechanical ventilation, or death. Results The median age of the patients was 47 years; 41.9% of the patients were female. The primary composite end point occurred in 67 patients (6.1%), including 5.0% who were admitted to the ICU, 2.3% who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, and 1.4% who died. Only 1.9% of the patients had a history of direct contact with wildlife. Among nonresidents of Wuhan, 72.3% had contact with residents of Wuhan, including 31.3% who had visited the city. The most common symptoms were fever (43.8% on admission and 88.7% during hospitalization) and cough (67.8%). Diarrhea was uncommon (3.8%). The median incubation period was 4 days (interquartile range, 2 to 7). On admission, ground-glass opacity was the most common radiologic finding on chest computed tomography (CT) (56.4%). No radiographic or CT abnormality was found in 157 of 877 patients (17.9%) with nonsevere disease and in 5 of 173 patients (2.9%) with severe disease. Lymphocytopenia was present in 83.2% of the patients on admission. Conclusions During the first 2 months of the current outbreak, Covid-19 spread rapidly throughout China and caused varying degrees of illness. Patients often presented without fever, and many did not have abnormal radiologic findings. (Funded by the National Health Commission of China and others.)
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              Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

              In December 2019, novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, China. The number of cases has increased rapidly but information on the clinical characteristics of affected patients is limited.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-3224
                10 July 2020
                2020
                10 July 2020
                : 11
                Affiliations
                College of Basic Medical Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University , Hangzhou, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mario Clerici, University of Milan, Italy

                Reviewed by: Vijayakumar Velu, Emory University, United States; Sarah Rowland-Jones, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Jinjun Ji josian@ 123456126.com

                This article was submitted to Viral Immunology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work

                Article
                10.3389/fimmu.2020.01708
                7365923
                8784cdb6-b6ac-4718-a7d2-8087ac97ac55
                Copyright © 2020 Tang, Liu, Zhang, Xu, Ji and Wen.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 136, Pages: 13, Words: 11481
                Funding
                Funded by: Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province 10.13039/501100004731
                Categories
                Immunology
                Review

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