Low dose radiation therapy as a potential life saving treatment for COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

Gaurav Dhawan, Rachna Kapoor, Rajiv Dhawan, Ravinder Singh, Bharat Monga, James Giordano, Edward J Calabrese
Radiotherapy and Oncology 2020, 147: 212-216
The new coronavirus COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was declared a global public health emergency by WHO on Jan 30, 2020. Despite massive efforts from various governmental, health and medical organizations, the disease continues to spread globally with increasing fatality rates. Several experimental drugs have been approved by FDA with unknown efficacy and potential adverse effects. The exponentially spreading pandemic of COVID-19 deserves prime public health attention to evaluate yet unexplored arenas of management. We opine that one of these treatment options is low dose radiation therapy for severe and most critical cases. There is evidence in literature that low dose radiation induces an anti-inflammatory phenotype that can potentially afford therapeutic benefit against COVID-19-related complications that are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Herein, we review the effects and putative mechanisms of low dose radiation that may be viable, useful and of value in counter-acting the acute inflammatory state induced by critical stage COVID-19.

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