The potential for repurposing anti-TNF as a therapy for the treatment of COVID-19
Robinson PC., Liew DFL., Liew JW., Monaco C., Richards D., Shivakumar S., Tanner HL., Feldmann M.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) currently has few effective treatments. Given the uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness and uptake of a vaccine, it is important that the search for treatments continue. An exaggerated inflammatory state is likely responsible for much of the morbidity and mortality in COVID-19. Elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a key pro-inflammatory cytokine, have been shown to be associated with increased COVID-19 mortality. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, TNF blockade reduces not only biologically active TNF but other pro-inflammatory cytokines important in COVID-19 hyperinflammation. Observational data from patients already on anti-TNF therapy show a reduced rate of COVID-19 poor outcomes and death compared with other immune-suppressing therapies. Anti-TNF has a long history of safe use, including in special at-risk populations, and is widely available. The case to adequately assess anti-TNF as a treatment for COVID-19 is compelling.