B'luru oncologist aims at boosting immune system of COVID-19 patients for faster recovery

01:17 PM Mar 28, 2020 | Team Udayavani |

Bengaluru: While medical experts are working to invent a vaccine for novel coronavirus, a team of doctors at HCG Hospital, Bengaluru have dedicated their efforts at boosting immune system of COVID-19 patients who are in their early stages as well as the patients.


The rationale behind their research stems from the fact that immune cells in human body work in tandem if an bacteria, fungi or virus invades or body. Elaborating on the same, Oncologist Dr Vishal Rao, HCG Hospital says that human body cells release interferon chemical to kill viruses. However in case of COVID-19 patients the inteferon gets activated only 48 hours after coronavirus invades our body, thus leading to weak immunity.

Efforts are thus focused on stimulating the inteferon production in our body during the early stage of coronavirus infection.

“We got hold of some preprint suggesting that interferon is effective in COVID19. When we withdraw blood for regular check-ups, we get buffy coat which can be used to take out cells and form interferon. These two chemicals and some other cytokines, in a specific concoction, could be potentially very useful in treating COVID-19 patients,” ” said Rao.

The oncologist said that they have built a concoction of cytokines (cyto means cells; kine means movement) which can be administered directly to an infected person which will boost their immune system to fight the virus.


The study is in its preliminary stage but Dr Vishal is hopeful that they would be ready with the cytokines concoction by this weekend. They have already applied for approval government and central drugs authority he informed.

He yet again stressed that the inteferon therapy is not a vaccine to treat COVID-19 patients and as such will not help prevent the infection of COVID-19. The therapy he believes would be helpful for persons in early stage of the infection.

“In the late stages we are looking at specific dosage of the cells which are our own body cells which can actually be effective and could also be of use for the ventilator patients,” he added.


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