In a study on children with PIMS-TS, an inflammatory disease that occurs in children following infection with SARS-CoV-2, NOMIS researcher Luregn Schlapbach and colleagues have found that the steroid methylprednisolone could be an acceptable first-line treatment. Methylprednisolone is considerably more affordable and more widely available globally than the intravenous immunoglobulins often used in treating PIMS-TS. Their findings were published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. Schlapbach is leading the RECOVERY-PIMS project.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic was followed by clusters of children presenting with a new inflammatory disease labelled pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS), or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children associated with COVID-19 (MIS-C). The University Children’s Hospitals of Zurich and Basel, together with eight other major children’s hospitals in Switzerland, launched a national study to improve the treatment of patients with PIMS.
Until now, immunoglobulins have been an integral part of PIMS therapies. These are antibodies that help the immune system fight inflammation. The problem: Immunoglobulins are based on human blood donations, are expensive, rare and therefore not available in many countries around the world. In their joint study, researchers at Children’s Hospitals conclude that the steroid methylprednisolone is at least as suitable as immunoglobulins for PIMS therapy. The steroid has anti-inflammatory properties and is fast acting. Most importantly, it is available worldwide and is cheaper and safer to obtain and use compared to other forms of therapy. This finding could contribute to a significant improvement in PIMS therapies worldwide, especially in developing countries.
Read The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health publication: Methylprednisolone versus intravenous immunoglobulins in children with paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS): an open-label, multicentre, randomised trial
Read the University Children’s Hospital Zurich release (German only): Medienmitteilung: Schweizer Studie verbessert Therapie von PIMS
Head of the Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
University Children’s Hospital Zurich
NOMIS RESEARCH PROJECT