The Plaquenil, COVID-19, Lupus Connection: “This drug saves lives, I’m living proof…”

“Potential mechanisms of action of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in COVID-19 and lupus. Top: In COVID-19, the virus SARS-CoV-2 can be taken up by immune cells and enters the endosome (a bubble-like structure). TLRs in the endosome recognize the virus and signal the immune cell to make immune proteins called cytokines. Too many of these cytokines causes a condition called cytokine storm that can damage lung tissue. HCQ changes the pH in endosomes, which makes it harder for TLRs to recognize the virus. As a result, they don’t signal the cell to make cytokines. HCQ has also been shown in vitro to prevent viral escape from the endosome and inhibits viral replication, thereby potentially reducing viral burden in a variety of cell types, not just immune cells. Bottom: For lupus treatment, HCQ also prevents TLR signaling, but in this case TLRs are responding to a self-molecule, hence why the condition is autoimmune. There are other proposed mechanisms of action of HCQ in both infectious and rheumatic disease, but we have highlighted similarities between HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19 and lupus.




Journalist | Professional Napper | Former Mrs. NY | Founder, Nonprofit —

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Marisa Zeppieri-Caruana

Marisa Zeppieri-Caruana

Journalist | Professional Napper | Former Mrs. NY | Founder, Nonprofit —

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