Explanation For COVID-19 Deaths

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Mia Couture

Medical experts are raising serious questions as to whether a human immune system agent causes certain patients with coronavirus to end up in a hospital unable to breathe with damaged lungs and other organs. What remains is an unresolved mystery of what causes Covid-19 to cause some people to die, and how best to avoid that.


Cytokine storms are a theory that arose early in the pandemic, an immune system reaction that is frequently invoked to explain serious viral infections, and it seemed to make perfect sense to many doctors: patients who died from Covid were found to have little or no virus in their bodies at times. It was gotten rid of by their immune systems. But in doing so, the theory went, the defenses of their body went rogue, spewing out strong cytokines and other inflammatory compounds that fatally induce inflammation.


But some researchers suggest, in a number of recent studies, an agent accused of causing the storms may not be the culprit or that such storms might not occur in the way doctors assumed. 


Not all agree.


Dr. Randy Cron, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who has researched cytokine storms for a long time , says these immune overreactions occur in some Covid-19 hospitalized patients. Yet, he admits that the responses seen in other diseases are not similar, and much remains to be known.