In this newsletter, we continue to explore how Cellix’s VenaFlux Solutions can help researchers to study mechanisms involved in the development of severe COVID-19 disease such as:
Severe systemic inflammation due to a cytokine storm: this newsletter focuses on this aspect and gives information on respective model and solution.
Endothelial Dysfunction: click here for previous blog.
Microvascular Thrombosis: click here for previous blog.
Mounting evidence has demonstrated that severely ill COVID-19 patients presented with elevated levels of cytokines such as serum IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, suggesting the involvement of a cytokine storm. Cytokine storms represent an exaggerated immune response characterized by over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines such as IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, IL-18, CXCL8 and CXCL10.
While an adequate release of cytokines is critical for the body's defence against viral infection, uncontrolled and aberrant immune system activation can lead to organ injury. Timely control of hyper-inflammatory response is crucial to prevent multi-organ dysfunction accompanying COVID-19.
A new study led by Chinese researchers in collaboration with UCLA's Dr. Yibin Wang  has shown that people hospitalized with COVID-19 who took statin drugs were less likely to die and less likely to need mechanical ventilation than those who did not take the cholesterol-lowering drugs. Hospitalized patients taking statins had a 5.2% mortality rate, compared to a 9.4% mortality rate in patients not taking statins - from two groups of COVID-19 patients with matching clinic characteristics except statin usage. Statin use was also linked to lower levels of inflammation, and a lower incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome and admission to intensive care units.
Statins are potent lipid-lowering agents that act on the mevalonate pathway by inhibiting HMG-CoA the rate-limiting enzyme for cholesterol synthesis. It has been previously shown that statins have anti-inflammatory properties that are independent of their lipid lowering capability. For example, patients with cardiovascular disease or patients prior to surgery who were receiving statin therapy had a lower incidence of sepsis and with fewer progressing to severe sepsis and death.