For people who have life threatening COVID-19 symptoms and need to go to the hospital for treatment.

Originally posted by Meredith Hurston 4/19/20

If you or a family member/friend needs to go to the hospital for severe COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to advocate for yourself/the patient.

Ask the Dr. to rule out a cytokine storm. The specific test for this is IL-6 or interleukin-6. If your IL-6 level is elevated, this is indication of cytokine storm. This means your immune system is in overdrive and is not shutting down/off when it’s time. It is continuing to move full speed ahead and will start to attack your healthy organs and eventually cause organ failure.

There are some anti-arthritis drugs that are showing some promise in reversing cytokine storm. Ask the doctor about prescribing anti-IL-6, if you have elevated levels. The specific drugs are:

  1. Tocilizumab (Actemra)
  2. Sarilumab (Kevzara)
  3. Siltuximab (Sylvant)

In many cases, the sick person will not be able to advocate for themselves due to their illness. Please identify a point person (1 person) to keep in touch with the doctors and medical team regarding the patient's care. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Write your questions down and speak up if you don’t understand the answers you are given.

According to a scientific journal, The Lancet, “ All patients with severe COVID-19 should be screened for hyperinflammation using laboratory trends (eg, increasing ferritin, decreasing platelet counts, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and the HScore11 (table) to identify the subgroup of patients for whom immunosuppression could improve mortality. Therapeutic options include steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, selective cytokine blockade (eg, anakinra or tocilizumab) and JAK inhibition.” Read the full article here: COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression 

More in depth info about drugs showing promise are here: Anti-IL-6 Agents Suggested by SITC to Treat Patients with COVID-19 

Read more about cytokine storm here: Cytokine release syndrome