A study in mice has identified ways to reduce the damage done to organs by the Covid-19 virus.
Covid-19 can sometimes cause a severe immune reaction known as a cytokine storm, in which too many inflammatory proteins (called cytokines) are released into the bloodstream and can lead to the injury of multiple organs.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center, Illinois, USA, have now developed a way to replicate a cytokine storm in mice – similar to the one seen in human Covid-19 patients – by giving the animals a cocktail of cytokines and other molecules.
The cocktail resulted in injury to the organs of the mice, such as the kidneys and liver, and the team found that they could effectively reduce the effect of a cytokine storm.
Dr Sumant Chugh at Rush said: “Much of what we discovered will inspire new ways of treating complications of Covid-19 and other severe respiratory viral illnesses.”