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Curb Covid deaths: State to conduct cytokine tests

Curb Covid deaths: State to conduct cytokine tests
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Kolkata: To curb the increase of COVID-19 cases with co-morbidities and reduce death rate of patients, the state government has decided to conduct IL-6 test in some of the state-run hospitals to detect the extent of cytokine storm.

Presently, the test is being done at government medical colleges including Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, Sagar Dutta Medical College and Hospital, MR Bangur and Hospital. The government is planning to start the test at Beleghata ID Hospital and other state-run hospitals soon.

According to senior doctors, it has been observed that high level of cytokines in a patient's blood were associated with greater chances of requiring intensive care and artificial ventilation if infected by Coronavirus. The chances of survival are less in such cases. Thus, the doctors are prescribing such tests for persons suffering from co-morbidities.

Dr Yogiraj Ray, senior virologist associated with Beleghata ID Hospital said: "The tests for detecting the extent of cytokine storm is beneficial especially for patients suffering from various comorbidities. As a result after detecting the extent of cytokine storm, we can administer the right dosage of steroids. It has been found that steroids work well in reducing the effect of cytokine storms, which subsequently results in reducing the death rate due to COVID-19."

A senior official of the state government claimed that the death rate of COVID-19 got reduced after tests for cytokine storm were being conducted. "We are planning to install the machine for conducting such tests at all state-run hospitals so that patients can avail the facility," he added.

A study by a UK University suggests that by accurately identifying the cytokines that are driving hyperinflammation in each COVID-19 patient, doctors could target those (such as with an IL-33 blocker), yielding the greatest benefits for individual patients through an approach known as 'precision medicine'.

Senior doctors are of the opinion that it is increasingly apparent that COVID-19 is highly heterogeneous. Only by applying these techniques to stratify the condition, it is possible to provide best treatment to individuals.

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