However, in hyperinflammation, immunosuppression is likely to be beneficial. Re-analysis of data from a phase 3 randomised controlled trial of IL-1 blockade (anakinra) in sepsis, showed significant survival benefit in patients with hyperinflammation, without increased adverse events. A multicentre, randomised controlled trial of tocilizumab (IL-6 receptor blockade, licensed for cytokine release syndrome), has been approved in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and elevated IL-6 in China (ChiCTR2000029765). Janus kinase (JAK) inhibition could affect both inflammation and cellular viral entry in COVID-19.
All patients with severe COVID-19 should be screened for hyperinflammation using laboratory trends (eg, increasing ferritin, decreasing platelet counts, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and the HScore (table) to identify the subgroup of patients for whom immunosuppression could improve mortality. Therapeutic options include steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, selective cytokine blockade (eg, anakinra or tocilizumab) and JAK inhibition.