Treatment of COVID-19 with Individualized Immune Boosting Interventions
There are major concerns regarding the current global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Whereas most of the infected individuals have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, in a small minority, the infection can lead to pneumonia and death. One major concern regarding the pandemic is the 2.3% average case fatality rate of the COVID-19 patients, with the fatality rate increasing to 8% for patients aged 70 to 79 and 14.8% for those aged 80 and over.
... Another major concern is the person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus by asymptomatic individuals during the incubation period, making it difficult to limit the spread of the disease. Many steps are underway worldwide to limit the spread of the disease, e.g. cancellation of conferences and large gatherings, closure of schools, curtailment of travel, etc. Considering the magnitude of the adverse impact on the social, cultural, commercial, educational, scientific, health, and other aspects of the society from such steps and the large anticipated casualties with the expected spread of the disease worldwide, it is important to explore methods of reducing the fatality rates of COVID-19 patients. Since the weakness of the immune system is one of the major contributing factors for the occurrence of pneumonia, and inflammation contributes to increased mortality rates of pneumonia patients, interventions that improve the immune response and/or reduce inflammation may reduce the pneumonia incidence and mortality in COVID-19 patients. There are indeed a large number of interventions that improve the immune response and/or reduce inflammation. However, all the interventions would not be applicable or acceptable to everyone and so the interventions would need to be individualized based on individual circumstances and preferences. This approach, known as “Individualized Interventions to Improve the Immune Response”, or the I4R approach needs to be tested in pilot clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. If the pilot clinical trials demonstrate that it is effective in reducing the incidence and mortality due to pneumonia, widespread adoption of the I4R approach for treating COVID-19 patients may reduce their morbidity and mortality, reducing the concerns regarding the coronavirus. This may be helpful in reducing the need for the drastic steps that have been taken worldwide, and help in the return of life to normalcy. Therefore, clinical trials of the I4R approach should be conducted on an urgent basis.