UK Researchers Develop Small Molecules That May Inhibit Cytokine Storm in COVID-19

A COVID-19 treatment, which could potentially also help protect cancer and organ transplant patients, is being developed at the University of Greenwich in the UK, according to a May 15, 2020 release from the University. University researchers have identified and developed compounds that can inhibit the multiple cytokine proteins that can cause death by respiratory collapse, following COVID-19 infection. Michael Leach ( ), PhD, has developed the compounds, known as UoG-alpha and UoG-beta. He says: “A major force that kills people who have COVID-19 is what’s known as the ‘cytokine storm.’ This is essentially a massive overload of the body’s immune system in response to the virus. Vaccination is what the government is suggesting for the future as being key to how we live ‘normally.’ That makes sense of course, but, as a complement, we need a drug therapy that can be used by someone with COVID symptoms before their ‘perfect storm.’ This would mean they don’t need to go to the hospital, although it could be used there as well. What we have identified and developed at the University are compounds that can control cytokines, which we know are contributing to COVID-19 deaths. We have been working with these small molecules for many years and they have shown themselves to control multiple target proteins linked with many disorders, such as sepsis, cancer, and various inflammatory problems. I believe a controllable drug therapy, able to prevent our immune system from disabling the body’s lung function during a cytokine storm, is what is needed.
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