A potential role for cyclophosphamide in the mitigation of acute respiratory distress syndrome among patients with SARS-CoV-2.
While humanity struggles to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, it is imperative that effective and affordable therapeutic strategies be evolved. Since a majority of the SARS-CoV-2 deaths are due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a strategy to mitigate the same could save countless lives. Since SARS-CoV-2 related ARDS has a strong immunological component, many investigators are utilizing monoclonal antibodies against IL-6, TNF-alpha and CCR5. However, targeting a single cytokine with an expensive monoclonal antibody could be a less pragmatic approach. We propose the use of cyclophosphamide as an immunomodulator, given its proven role in various settings including autoimmune diseases, and in the post-haploidentical stem cell transplant. Cyclophosphamide could deplete cytotoxic and effector T cell populations while relatively sparing the regulatory T cells (Tregs). Cyclophosphamide could tip the balance away from the overtly pro-inflammatory and could be a less expensive and effective alternative to the currently investigated monoclonal antibodies.