COVID-19 carries a high risk of severe disease course, particularly in patients with comorbidities. Therapy of severe COVID-19 infection has relied on supportive intensive care measures. More specific approaches including drugs that limit the detrimental “cytokine storm”, such as Janus-activated kinase (JAK) inhibitors, are being discussed. Here, we report a compelling case of a 55-yo patient with proven COVID-19 pneumonia, who was taking the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in-label for co-existing primary myelofibrosis for 15 months prior to coronavirus infection. The patient had significant comorbidities, including chronic kidney disease, arterial hypertension, and obesity, and our previous cohort suggested that he was thus at high risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death from COVID-19. Since abrupt discontinuation of ruxolitinib may cause fatal cytokine storm and ARDS, ruxolitinib treatment was continued and was well tolerated, and the patient´s condition remained stable, without the need for mechanical ventilation or vasopressors. The patient became negative for SARS-CoV-2 and was discharged home after 15 days. In conclusion, our report provides clinical evidence that ruxolitinib treatment is feasible and can be beneficial in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, preventing cytokine storm and ARDS.
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