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Research Field Immunology, Infectious diseases

Weathering the Cytokine Storm

A preclinical study showed that administration of THC was highly effective in preventing chemically induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in a mouse model (1).

The researchers exposed mice to enterotoxin B, which usually leads to a cytokine storm that causes the immune system to attack lung tissues. The result? Rapid onset of ARDS and death within a few days. In fact, all of the mice in the untreated control group grew so sick they had to be euthanized.

However, when the researchers gave THC immediately after exposure to the toxin none of the mice developed symptoms of ARDS and 100 percent survived.

These dramatic results have raised speculation that THC might help patients who develop ARDS as a result of COVID-19; however, the research is preliminary at this stage, with no guarantee it will translate from mice to humans.

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  1. A Mohammed et al., Front Pharmacol, 11, 893 (2020). DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00893

About the Author

Charlotte Barker

“As Editor of The Translational Scientist, I’m working closely with our audience to create vibrant, engaging content that reflects the hard work and passion that goes into bringing new medicines to market. I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals and have spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine, so I know my way around. And I can’t think of a more interesting, challenging or important area to be working in.”

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