Among the recent findings related to how COVID-19 affects the human body after infection, what experts call a cytokine storm is apparently to blame for most of the deaths. This is when the human body's immune system goes into overdrive and causes an uncontrolled inflammatory response. Ultimately, it can lead to pneumonia, blood clots, lung damage, and organ failure. Now, a renowned immunologist hopes to find a drug that can be repurposed to help save lives amid the pandemic.
In an article from CNN, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine supposedly survived his medical ordeal a few years ago thanks to unconventional treatment. At 35 years old, Dr. David Fajgenbaum now heads the Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory of the aforementioned institution. It seems that he has found an interesting similarity between COVID-19 and Castleman disease.
After his arduous fight against the latter, which almost claimed his life, he has dedicated his efforts to understand the rare disease that affects the lymph nodes. If left untreated, complications can lead to a host of another that can eventually result in death. According to sources he and his team of researchers are looking into every drug that has been used for COVID-19.
Their goal is to determine which of the medications that have been tested could be revisited with some tweaks to control the cytokine storm that manifests in some patients. He stated: "I'm alive because of a repurposed drug." Anything deemed relevant by his group is then uploaded to CORONA (COVID-19 Registry of Off-label & New Agents) -- a public database -- for doctors to use as a reference.
Fajgenbaum's work will also benefit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The information will likely be used to update the guidelines provided by its CURE ID platform. "It's really been a terrific collaboration," said a representative from the agency "His life follows very much the model we hope to use."
One of the drugs that recently caught their attention is Dexamethasone, which was allegedly found to reduce the risk of death among COVID-19 patients with severe or moderate symptoms. Meanwhile, clinical trials are being conducted around the globe with several already in their later phases.