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Single-cell analysis of two severe COVID-19 patients reveals a monocyte-associated and tocilizumab-responding cytokine storm.

Abstract

Several studies show that the immunosuppressive drugs targeting the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor, including tocilizumab, ameliorate lethal inflammatory responses in COVID-19 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Here, by employing single-cell analysis of the immune cell composition of two severe-stage COVID-19 patients prior to and following tocilizumab-induced remission, we identify a monocyte subpopulation that contributes to the inflammatory cytokine storms. Furthermore, although tocilizumab treatment attenuates the inflammation, immune cells, including plasma B cells and CD8+ T cells, still exhibit robust humoral and cellular antiviral immune responses. Thus, in addition to providing a high-dimensional dataset on the immune cell distribution at multiple stages of the COVID-19, our work also provides insights into the therapeutic effects of tocilizumab, and identifies potential target cell populations for treating COVID-19-related cytokine storms.

Authors: Guo C, Li B, Ma H, Wang X, Cai P, Yu Q, Zhu L, Jin L, Jiang C, Fang J, Liu Q, Zong D, Zhang W, Lu Y, Li K, Gao X, Fu B, Liu L, Ma X, Weng J, Wei H, Jin T, Lin J, Qu K,
Journal: Nat Commun; 2020 08 06 ; 11 (1) 3924. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-17834-w
Year: 2020
PubMed: PMID: 32764665 (Go to PubMed)