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In existing literature, there is an uncertain role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in viral infections despite early enthusiasm in targeted therapy to combat COVID-19. This article outlines what is known about IL-6 in the literature and its prior use in patients with ARDS and COVID-19.
This commentary encourages restraint prior to adoption of unproven therapies and strongly urges robust clinical research of anti–IL-6 therapies.
– Kolene Bailey, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 represents the latest threat to global health security, and the pressure to identify effective therapeutics during this pandemic is immense. This stress has led to the use of unproven therapies with greater than minimal risk. One example is the use of interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonists. Following an early report of a "cytokine storm" in COVID-19 patients, there is increased interest in anti-IL6 therapy as a treatment option, with ill-defined criteria for use (1).