Indian-origin doctor in Tennessee finds potential treatment to prevent COVID-19 deaths

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

COVID-19 affects our body in various life-threatening ways like inflammation, lung damage, and organ failure. And doctors around the world are still discovering new information about this virus.

Now an Indian-American doctor and scientist have discovered a potential strategy to prevent many of these life-threatening situations in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, an Indian-born researcher working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, identified the drugs after discovering that the hyperinflammatory immune response associated with COVID-19 leads to tissue damage and multi-organ failure in mice by triggering inflammatory cell death pathways.

Dr. Thirumala-Devi and her team explained how the inflammatory cell death signaling pathway worked, which led to potential therapies to disrupt the process.

“Understanding the pathways and mechanism driving this inflammation is critical to developing effective treatment strategies,” said Dr. Kanneganti, vice-chair of the St Jude Department of Immunology.

She was born and raised in Telangana and had received her undergraduate degree at Kakatiya University in Warangal, where she majored in Chemistry, Zoology, and Botany. She then received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Osmania University in India. She joined St. Jude, in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in 2007.

“This research provides that understanding. We also identified the specific cytokines that activate inflammatory cell death pathways and have considerable potential for the treatment of COVID-19 and other highly fatal diseases, including sepsis,” she said.

The other researchers were Shraddha Tuladhar, Parimal Samir, Min Zheng, Balamurugan Sundaram, Balaji Banoth, RK Subbarao Malireddi, Patrick Schreiner, Geoffrey Neale, Peter Vogel and Richard Webby, of St. Jude; and Evan Peter Williams, Lillian Zalduondo and Colleen Beth Jonsson, of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The infection has killed more than 1.2 million people in less than one year and sickened millions more.

The infection is marked by increased blood levels of multiple cytokines. These small proteins are secreted primarily by immune cells to ensure a rapid response to restrict the virus. Some cytokines also trigger inflammation.