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Possible Immune Effect of Progesterone

Many of the sickest patients with COVID-19 have high levels of immune system proteins called cytokines in their blood. “Cytokine storm” is an overactive immune response to a viral infection and is one of the most devastating complications of COVID-19 infections, where the body starts to attack its own cells and tissues rather than just fighting off the virus. Cytokine storms are known to happen in autoimmune diseases, during certain kinds of cancer treatment, and can be triggered by infections like the flu. One study of patients who died of H1N1 influenza, for example, found that 81% had features of a cytokine storm. Researchers have looked at the anti-inflammatory properties of progesterone. Pregnant women, who usually have high levels of progesterone, tend to have mild courses of COVID-19. A new study will assess the use of a short course of progesterone therapy in hospitalized men diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.



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