Cytokine Storm: A sudden crash in covid-19 patients

The world has been dealing with COVID-19 since the past one year and every day we come across different triggers or reactions that are making it worse. COVID-19 has been asymptomatic in a few patients while life threatening in others. It was found that in many COVID cases a severe immune reaction has been taking place that is worsening the disease and it’s prognosis. This reaction is called a cytokine storm.

What is a Cytokine Storm?

Cytokine storm is a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many cytokines in the blood at a very fast rate. Cytokines have an important role in normal immune reactions of the body but their release in a large amount proves to be harmful. There are many different cytokines that perform many kinds of functions. Some help recruit other immune cells, and some help with antibody production or pain signaling. Some make the blood clot more easily. Some help produce inflammation, which can make blood vessels more leaky than normal. Another group of cytokines helps tamp down the body’s inflammatory response. That’s an important balance, since too much inflammation causes its own problems.

Under normal circumstances, these cytokines help coordinate the response of your immune system to take care of infectious substances, like viruses or bacteria. The problem is that sometimes the body’s inflammatory response can get out of control, causing more harm than good. Sometimes the body produces too many inflammatory cytokines and not enough cytokines that modulate inflammation. The inflammatory cytokines start “storming” out of control, without enough feedback from the anti-inflammatory cytokines.

In people experiencing cytokine storm syndrome, certain cytokines are present in the blood at higher-than-normal amounts. In COVID-19, elevations in several inflammatory cytokines seem to be involved in the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, the leading cause of death in people dealing with COVID-19 illness.


Cytokine storm can cause many different symptoms. Sometimes these are only mild, flu-like symptoms. Other times, these can be severe and life-threatening. Symptoms might include:

  • Fevers and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Difficulty coordinating movements
  • Confusion and hallucinations
  • Lethargy and poor responsiveness

Very low blood pressure and increased blood clotting can also be hallmarks of severe cytokine storm syndrome. The heart may not pump as well as it normally would. As a result, cytokine storm can affect multiple organ systems, potentially leading to organ failure and death.

In cytokine storm syndrome, respiratory symptoms may worsen to become acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which might require mechanical ventilation to help a person receive enough oxygen.

Cytokine Storm in COVID

As cytokines are released because of immune reactions, it is natural that they are released after any infection that affects the immune system.

  • In case of SARS-CoV-2 infection the virus multiplies itself at a very fast rate. This gives the immune system signals that something foreign has entered the body and the immune response is fastened.
  • The increased immune response leads to higher and faster release of cytokines which in turn leads to a cytokine storm.
  • Studies show that one of the most dangerous conditions associated with cytokine storms is ARDS or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This condition has also been seen to occur and lead to death in patients affected with SARS- CoV-2 or COVID 19.
  • ADRS leads to inflammatory damage to the alveolar-capillary membrane leading to lung insufficiency.
  • The cytokine levels were found to be raised in cases of COVID 19 especially in those experiencing severe symptoms.
  • This rise in cytokines only worsens the disease and is also an indication for the clinicians that the disease is worsening.
  • If the cytokine storm in COVID patients goes unnoticed or untreated it may lead to ADRS and eventually lead to organ failure.
  • Once lungs are attacked by this storm, oxygen level starts to drop in other organs of the body as well leading to organ failure.
  • Studies also show that it takes about a week after the diagnosis of COVID to the diagnosis of multiple organ failure.

Mechanism of cytokine storm:

Treatment of Cytokine Storm from COVID-19

Treatment of Cytokine Storm from COVID-19

Researchers are actively exploring many different therapies to treat cytokine storm syndrome from COVID-19. Many are studying existing therapies that affect the immune system to see if any might help people with cytokine storm from COVID-19.For example, Kineret (anakinra) is a biologic therapy sometimes used to treat people with rheumatoid arthritis and other medical conditions that can affect the immune system. It blocks the activity of a specific cytokine known as interleukin 1 (IL-1). It has sometimes been helpful for people with cytokine storm from autoimmune conditions. Researchers are currently studying whether this therapy might help critically ill people with cytokine storm syndrome from COVID-19

Another example is Actemra (tocilizumab), a biologic activity that can be used for rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. This therapy blocks the activity of another cytokine, interleukin 6 (IL-6). Actemra has previously sometimes been used to treat cytokine storm resulting as a side effect of therapy (like for leukemia).Scientists are currently investigating these therapies, as well as many other potential interventions. Ideally, multiple therapies will be found to help curb the effects of cytokine storm, leading to decreased deaths from COVID-19.

Cause: Cytokine storm can be caused by a number of infectious and non-infectious etiologies, especially viral respiratory infections such as H1N1 influenzaH5N1influenzaSARS-CoV-1, and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 agent), Influenza B, Parainfluenza virus.

One of the major cause of cytokine respiratory syndrome in case of covid-19, is lack of real time results which ultimately means not to get diagnosed in the early stage of covid-19.

 Several reasons depicting the overall process which is responsible for this cytokine storm:

  • delay in testing
  • delay in test results
  • paitents do not get diagnose at early stage
  • reach to the extremely serious condition
  • stay on ventilators
  • pass through the various immunotherapies
  • which leads to the abnormal growth of protein “cytokine “which finally become the cytokine storm.

Now, the reason behind these delays are:

  • Individuals fear the painful testing through RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) and RAT (rapid antigen test), which acquire sample through nasal and saliva swab.
  • These are laboratory processes which take long time (RT-PCR ≥ RAT) to provide results even in that period a person can acquire severe symptoms.
  • They are not cost effective, as not everybody can afford these tests.

In comparison to these tests, we are here with a solution which can overcome all the above-mentioned problems by providing real time results in just 20 seconds.

The covid-19 ATM, which is a fully automated breath analyser, it can detect the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) specific to covid-19 and give real time results in just 20 seconds through an invasive way of sample acquisition. It’s a very simple process which removes all the barriers between the patient and the results. As the individuals can themselves take their own sample just by breathing on the sample acquisition card and can check out their results in just 20 seconds. For more information checkout my previous blogs and youtube channel:

As we all know, it is the roots, where the tree’s greatest strength lies.

So, its obvious that to destroy that tree we must cut the roots first.

 In the same way to destroy this cytokine storm, its roots (the basic reasons which are giving strength to this) should be cut down.

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