Cytokine storm and colchicine potential role in fighting SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia

  • Antonio Vitiello Usl Umbria 1, Perugia, Italy.
  • Francesco Ferrara | Usl Umbria 1, Perugia, Italy.
  • Chiara Pelliccia Usl Umbria 2, Terni, Italy.
  • Giovanni Granata Asl Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
  • Raffaele La Porta Asur Marche, Ancona, Italy.


For some patients with SARS-CoV-2, the worst clinical damage is not caused by the virus itself, but by an overactive inflammatory state. In fact, in some people the immune system goes into overdrive and launches a large-scale assault on the tissue known as cytokine storm. This excessive inflammatory/immune reaction can damage tissue and eventually kill people. Evidence shows that blocking such cytokine storms can be effective and trials are under way to test drugs that act by reducing cytokine response, such as tocilizumab and sarilumab which bind interleukin 6 (IL-6), or anakinra which is the interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1). However, other drugs that block the cytokine cascade can also be considered. In this article we describe the scientific and molecular motivation for the use of drugs that act by modulating the hyperactive inflammatory system in severe patients suffering from SARS-CoV-2, considering in particular an old drug that has been in use for many years for other therapeutic indications such as colchicine, and that could be favorable to its use, with low cost and good tolerability.



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Original Articles
SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, cytokine, colchicine, infection, immunology.
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How to Cite
Vitiello, A., Ferrara, F., Pelliccia, C., Granata, G., & La Porta, R. (2020). Cytokine storm and colchicine potential role in fighting SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. Italian Journal of Medicine, 14(2), 88-94.