Months after the first cases of COVID-19 have been reported, the whole world is still struggling to find a cure against the novel coronavirus infection, a highly contagious disease that could turn into a life-threatening case, especially for older patients and those with underlying health conditions.
Potential COVID-19 Cure
According to Time, there are already 70 COVID-19 vaccines that are already in development, and three of these candidate vaccines are already in human trials.
Nevertheless, doctors are still scrambling for a coronavirus cure that could help alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19 and kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus that threatens the life of every patient.
Although there are already potential cures, including a head lice treatment, nothing has been officially declared as a coronavirus treatment, which makes it hard to tell whether COVID-19 patients will recover from severe cases.
However, hope is still alive as doctors find another potential coronavirus cure--and this time, it helps reduce "cytokine storms," which could be life-threatening and causes death in people believed to have recovered from COVID-19.
What are Cytokine Storms?
According to CTV News, these cytokine storms occur when the immune system "initiates an exaggerated response" to the virus.
Cytokine molecules are produced by the body to deal with a foreign object in the body, but during a cytokine storm, our system produces more of these molecules that end up attacking the organs in the body.
Eventually, the patient will develop severe lung inflammation, multiple organ failure, respiratory distress, or bacterial pneumonia that could cause their death.
However, doctors seem to have found a cure to help battle this coronavirus complication.
Actemra as a Possible Cytokine Storm and Coronavirus Cure
According to a report by BGR, an emergency room doctor contracted the disease and developed a severe case.
The patient, Dr. Ryan Padgett of the EvergreenHealth Medical Center that is located in Seattle, soon experienced difficulty in breathing, so he was provided a ventilator to help him breathe. But five days later, his lungs and kidneys started to fail, so his colleagues gave him only a day or so left to live.
"To worry about myself, as a 44-year-old healthy man, didn't even cross my mind," the doctor told the Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Padgett was severely sick that he needed an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine to help him breathe, so he was transferred to the Swedish Medical Center, but even the machine was not enough, which led his colleagues to believe he had a cytokine storm.
That was when his colleagues thought of providing him an experimental drug that was also used in China to treat the sickest COVID-19 patients.
After four days of using Actemra along with other treatments, Dr. Padgett was taken off of life support after his blood oxygen level improved. Four more days later, his breathing tube was removed, and he came out of his sedated coma.
By April 5, the doctor was finally discharged.
Besides Dr. Padgett, the team was also able to treat a 33-year-old COVID-19 patient who was also experiencing a cytokine storm with the use of Actemra and other combinations of drugs.