Immune Disease (HLH) Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Points to Possible Treatment for COVID-19 “Cytokine Storms”– Anti-Inflammatory Drug (Ruxolitinib) Used in HLH, Shows Possible Effectiveness in Calming “Cytokine Storms” in COVID-19

A transgenic mouse developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to model the deadly childhood immune disease HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) ( ) ( ) may play a key role in saving lives during the COVID-19 virus pandemic. One of the genetically engineered mouse strain's inventors--Cincinnati Children's cancer pathologist Gang Huang, PhD-- is co-investigator on a small clinical trial that successfully tested a drug (ruxolitinib), already used to treat HLH, that dramatically reversed respiratory and multi-system inflammation in severely ill COVID-19 patients. Data from the Phase II clinical study was published online on May 26, 2020 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology ( The articl is titled "Ruxolitinib in Treatment of Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Multicenter, Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled trial." The study involved 43 hospitalized patients diagnosed with severe COVID-19 between February 9 and February 28 in Wuhan, China, believed to be ground zero for the pandemic. The multi-center study was led by Jianfeng Zhou, MD, PhD, Department of Hematology at Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science in Wuhan. Dr. Zhou is a longtime collaborator of Dr. Huang and colleagues at the Cincinnati Children's HLH Center of Excellence, part of the hospital’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.
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