Coronavirus treatments: keep your eye on anti-complement drugs – they look promising

by SammyNovember 19, 2020

Although the vaccine cavalry is finally coming over the hill, the need for better drugs to treat those with COVID-19 remains.

Many drugs are being tested in patients at different stages of the disease, but with a few notable exceptions, results so far have been disappointing. In patients with severe COVID-19, runaway inflammation is a big contributor to the tissue damage we see with this disease. Indeed, the steroid drug dexamethasone, one of a handful shown to have an impact on the disease, works by dampening inflammation. Another class of drugs that you may soon be hearing more about are those targeting complement.

What is complement?

Complement is a highly inflammatory system in the blood plasma, an important part of our normal defence against infection and injury. It comprises a set of plasma proteins that work together in a chain reaction to kill bacteria, directly and by attracting and alerting immune cells to attack. It does this by releasing something called “activation products” which cause local inflammation at the infection site – the redness, pain and swelling you get with an infected wound.



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