Jianfeng Zhou MD, PhD Department of Hematology, Tongji Hospital Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technolog Wuhan, Hubei, China

JAK inhibitor Ruxolitinib Shows Promise in Mitigating Cytokine Storm of COVID-19

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jianfeng Zhou MD, PhD Department of Hematology, Tongji Hospital Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technolog Wuhan, Hubei, China

Dr. Jian Feng Zhou

Jianfeng Zhou MD, PhD
Department of Hematology, Tongji Hospital
Tongji Medical College
Huazhong University of Science and Technolog
Wuhan, Hubei, China

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response:  There is accumulating evidence on the key pathophysiological role of cytokines during the severe stage of COVID-19. In the context of lack of vaccine and specific antiviral agents, testing of immunomodulatory agents to reduce excessive or uncontrolled inflammation before it results in irreversible multi-organ dysfunction infection has received increasing research attention. Although several important papers have proposed JAK inhibitors as potential therapeutic targets, the role of JAK inhibitors on COVID-19 patients needs to be clarified quickly, especially in severe COVID-19 patients.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Hence, we conducted a prospective, multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib, a Janus-associated kinase (JAK1/2) inhibitor, for COVID-19. The results of the present study showed that ruxolitinib plus standard of care (SoC) was well tolerated in the treatment of severe COVID-19. It significantly mitigated exuberant cytokine storm featured in severe COVID-19, with significant chest CT improvement.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The sample size was small due to no eligible patients available at the end of the pandemic at our trial centers. Additional larger controlled studies to confirm the possibility of a treatment benefit of ruxolitinib are needed.  Further testing in larger patient cohorts with different ethnicity or disease status is also required to get a comprehensive conclusion.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This is a first RCT investigation of JAK1/2 inhibitor for the treatment of severe COVID-19 worldwide based on a novel therapeutic rationale. Our conclusion has great clinical implication to manage cytokine storm in severe COVID-19 patients. The favorable side-effect profile combined with a reduction of inflammation and significant chest CT improvements in the ruxolitinib plus SoC treatment should inform future trials in a larger population to assess with ruxolitinib or other JAK1/2 inhibitors in COVID patients.

Citation: 

Ruxolitinib in treatment of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): A multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled trial
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology ( IF 14.110 ) Pub Date : 2020-05-26 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2020.05.019
Yang Cao; Jia Wei; Liang Zou; Tiebin Jiang; Gaoxiang Wang; Liting Chen; Liang Huang; Fankai Meng; Lifang Huang; Na Wang; Xiaoxi Zhou; Hui Luo; Zekai Mao; Xing Chen; Jungang Xie; Jing Liu; Hui Cheng; Jianping Zhao; Jianfeng Zhou

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May 27, 2020 @ 2:19 pm

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