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Cytokine Storm and Mucus Hypersecretion in COVID-19: Review of Mechanisms

Authors Khan MA, Khan ZA, Charles M, Pratap P, Naeem A, Siddiqui Z, Naqvi N, Srivastava S

Received 9 July 2020

Accepted for publication 8 December 2020

Published 22 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 175—189

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S271292

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ning Quan


Mohsin Ali Khan,1 Zaw Ali Khan,1 Mark Charles,2 Pushpendra Pratap,2 Abdul Naeem,2 Zainab Siddiqui,3 Nigar Naqvi,4 Shikha Srivastava4

1Reseach & Development Department, Era’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 2Metabolic Research Unit, Era’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 3Department of Pathology, Era’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 4Department of Nutrition, Era’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence: Zaw Ali Khan Era’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital
Era University, Hardoi Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001, India
Tel +91 9839445514
Email zawali@erauniversity.in

Abstract: Mucus is an integral part of the respiratory physiology. It protects the respiratory tract by acting as a physical barrier against inhaled particles and microbes. Excessive inflammation in conditions such as COVID-19 can result in over-production of mucus which obstructs the airway. Build-up of mucus can also contribute to recurrent airway infection, causing further obstruction. This article summarizes the current understanding and knowledge of respiratory mucus production and proposes the role of cytokine storm in inducing sudden mucus hypersecretion in COVID-19. Based on these cascades, the active constituents that inhibit or activate several potential targets are outlined for further research. These may be explored for the discovery and design of drugs to combat cytokine storm and its ensuing complications.

Keywords: COVID-19, cytokine storm, mucus, coronavirus, viral infection

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