A newly published study in the journal Nature shows a strong and independent correlation between elevated inflammatory markers and survival of the COVID-19 infection:
"We found that high serum IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α levels at the time of hospitalization were strong and independent predictors of patient survival (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0205 and P = 0.0140, respectively)."
The researchers suggest:
"To mitigate inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2, immunomodulatory agents, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies targeting cytokines, have rapidly been entering into clinical trials, and many such FDA-approved agents are already being used routinely in the clinic in an off-label manner."
While these are important for more severe cases that find their way into the hospitals, these drugs are still not available and are being researched for their safety. What about less serious but still impactful and challenging infections of COVID-19 that don't make it into the hospital-level of care? Can't we use immunomodulatory agents known to be effective and safe such as well-studied and widely used Chinese herbal formulas ? We need options that are freely available, known to be safe, and can address less severe cases, which are more common but may cause more long-term costs and health challenges. We can point to a lot of experimental and clinical research showing the immunomodulatory effects of Chinese herbal formulas for viral infections [1,2,3] and continue to provide these as options for patients who cannot get rare or unavailable experimental drug treatments. If you are struggling with any viral infection, it is best to manage inflammation and regulate your immune system prior to infection as well as during and after acute infection, during recovery. We can help, using evidence-based medicine, informed by integrative and holistic herbal medicine.
1. Xiong, X., Wang, P., Su, K., Cho, W. C., & Xing, Y. (2020). Chinese herbal medicine for coronavirus disease 2019: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pharmacological Research, 160, 105056. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105056 2. Zhang, D., Zhang, B., Lv, J.-T., Sa, R.-N., Zhang, X.-M., & Lin, Z.-J. (2020). The clinical benefits of Chinese patent medicines against COVID-19 based on current evidence. Pharmacological Research, 157, 104882. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.104882 3. Eng, Y. S., Lee, C. H., Lee, W. C., Huang, C. C., & Chang, J. S. (2019). Unraveling the Molecular Mechanism of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Formulas Against Acute Airway Viral Infections as Examples. Molecules, 24(19), 3505. doi: 10.3390/molecules24193505 Del Valle, D. M., Kim-Schulze, S., Huang, H. H., Beckmann, N. D., Nirenberg, S., Wang, B., ... & Marron, T. U. (2020). An inflammatory cytokine signature predicts COVID-19 severity and survival. Nature medicine, 26(10), 1636-1643. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1051-9