Introduction: As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads worldwide, awaiting the development of a vaccine, researchers are looking among the arsenal of available drugs, for a potential cure or medication to improve patients ’ outcome . A highly elevated levels of cytokines in COVID-19 patients requiring ICU admission, has suggested that a “ cytokine storm ” was associated with disease severity .
Methods: We summarize published key findings about imatinib, aiming to rationalize its use as a potential pharmacologic treatment for COVID-19 .
Results: Data from cellular, animal models and clinical trials, showed a beneficial role of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the regulation of inflammation, the maintenance of endothelial barrier integrity, as well as the expression of antiviral properties . This data is especially derived from imatinib, the most studied Abl family kinase inhibitor, that is currently in clinical use for multiple medical conditions .
Discussion: Based on this encouraging data, we hypothesize that imatinib might be beneficial for the treatment of patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, in the aim of preventing disease progression into the severe phenotype of hypoxic respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome . This concept can be considered for evaluation in a randomized controlled study.