Weathering the cytokine storm in COVID-19

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Webinar Description: 

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. COVID-19 symptoms, including systemic inflammatory response and multi-system organ failure, are now affecting thousands of SARS-CoV-2–infected patients and causing widespread mortality.  Life-threatening “cytokine storms” involving the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor-α; interleukin-6, -1, and -8; and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) may contribute to the rapid systemic organ failure observed in select critically ill COVID-19 patients. Therefore, controlling inflammatory responses to COVID-19 may be as important as anti-viral therapies. A paradigm shift is emerging in our understanding of the resolution of inflammation as an active biochemical process with the discovery of novel endogenous specialized pro-resolving lipid autacoid mediators (SPMs), such as resolvins. SPMs stimulate macrophage-mediated clearance of debris and counter pro-inflammatory cytokine production—a process collectively termed the resolution of inflammation. The role of resolution of inflammation in COVID-19 remains of interest. Mortality due to COVID-19 is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, whereas COVID-19 itself can also induce myocardial injury, acute coronary syndrome, and venous thromboembolism.


Key Learning Objectives:

  1. What is the cytokine storm in COVID-19?
  2. What are the therapeutic approaches to treating the cytokine storm in COVID-19?
  3. What is the resolution of inflammation and how is it different from anti-inflammation?
  4. Is stimulation of resolution a strategy to control the cytokine storm and hyper-inflammation in COVID-19? 
  5. Understand immune cell responses in the cytokine storm of severe COVID19 patients, and a) how the virus itself induces immune responses that negatively impact the cardiovascular system and the heart, b) how pre-existing inflammation in cardiovascular disease patients predisposes them to more severe cytokine storm and COVID-19.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Inflammation resolution: a dual-pronged approach to averting cytokine storms in COVID-19?
  2. Eicosanoids The Overlooked Storm in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
  3. COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease: from basic mechanisms to clinical perspectives
  4. Longitudinal analyses reveal immunological misfiring in severe COVID-19
  5. Pro-resolving lipid mediators are leads for resolution physiology
  6. Resolvins in inflammation: emergence of the pro-resolving superfamily of mediators

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Charles Serhan:

Dr. Serhan is the Simon Gelman Professor of Anaesthesia (Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology) at Harvard Medical School and also Professor of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He is Director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Charles received a BS in biochemistry from Stony Brook University followed by a Doctorate in experimental pathology and medical sciences from New York University School of Medicine.  Dr. Serhan has experience leading multidisciplinary research teams as PI/PD for several NIH supported Program Project Grants and a P-50 Center Grant.  He has received several research awards including an NIH MERIT and international awards among these are the 2008 William Harvey Outstanding Scientist Medal and AAAS Fellow in 2011. In 2010, he received the SLB Bonazinga Award, The American College of Rheumatology Hench (Nobel Laurate) Award Lecture in 2011 presented by the Mayo Clinic Hench Society. In 2016, he received the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine. Charles received the International Eicosanoid Research Foundation’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Society of Investigative Pathology 2018 Rous Whipple Award, and the 2018 Gaddum International Prize and Award Lecture from the British Pharmacology Society. 

Dr. Dipak Panigrahy:

Dr. Dipak Panigrahy was accepted to medical school while still in high school, and trained as a physician-scientist. He has become an expert in the field of cancer and inflammation. Dr. Panigrahy has extensive expertise in complex techniques of modeling cancer in animals. The Panigrahy laboratory has established novel debris-stimulated chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and carcinogen cancer models to study eicosanoid and cytokine storms relevant to COVID-19 and cancer. The novelty of these studies is demonstrated as his laboratory has won over 50 awards for their studies on lipid autacoids in cancer. He has chaired over 15 symposiums and given over 50 invited lectures on lipid autacoids in cancer at national/international meetings over the past five years. Dr. Panigrahy is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Pilar Alcaide

Dr. Pilar Alcaide has a PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology. She is an Associate Professor of Immunology and the Kenneth and JoAnn G. Wellner Professor at Tufts University, Boston, MA. Her current research focusses on T cell responses in heart disease.