Immune-suppressive and immune-stimulating drugs and COVID-19 (search done: before 20 March 2020)

Added June 2, 2020

Citation: Russell B, Moss C, George G, et al. Associations between immune-suppressive and stimulating drugs and novel COVID-19: a systematic review of current evidence. Ecancermedicalscience 2020; 14: 1022

What is this? Immunosuppression is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection. Therefore, it is important to understand the associations between immunomodulatory medications and COVID-19 infection.

In this rapid review, the authors searched for research on the impact of immune-suppressing or immune-stimulating drugs on coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19). They searched Ovid MEDLINE and although the date of the search is not reported, they submitted their manuscript to the journal on 20 March 2020. They included 89 studies covering 10 immunomodulatory medication groups, but not limited to COVID-19 patients.

What was found: At the time of this review, the included studies showed that low-dose prednisolone and tacrolimus may have beneficial impacts on COVID-19.

At the time of this review, the included studies showed that the associations with COVID-19 for mycophenolate mofetil, specific cytotoxic drugs, low-dose methotrexate for auto-immune disease, NSAIDs, JAK kinase inhibitors and anti-TNFα agents are uncertain.

At the time of this review, the included studies showed that interleukin-6 peak levels are associated with severity of pulmonary complication.


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