The role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in COVID-19 patients

The Role of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) in COVID-19 Patients


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in almost one hundred million cases and two million deaths worldwide. The clinical spectrum of COVID-19 ranges from asymptomatic infection to fatal illness. This highly variable clinical course puts added value in identifying and implementing predictive markers of severe infection. Evidence has shown that patients exhibiting more severe illness also showed higher levels of inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6). This talk will explore the presumed underlying cause of IL-6 production in COVID-19. Technical details about IL-6 assays and challenges to implementing them in a clinical laboratory will also be reviewed before discussing the role that IL-6 can play in managing COVID-19 patients.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the pathophysiology underlying IL-6 production in COVID-19 patients
  • Identify the challenges of implementing IL-6 testing in the laboratory
  • State the advantages of laboratory monitoring of IL-6 for managing COVID-19 patients


Joshua Hayden, PhD
Chief of Chemistry for Norton Healthcare. Prior to joining Norton, he served as an associate professor and director of toxicology for New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell. He completed a clinical chemistry fellowship at the University of Washington and a research fellowship at MIT. His work is aimed at ensuring patients and providers of Norton Healthcare receive the highest quality laboratory testing available. He has particular experience in the implementation of mass spectrometry assays in the clinical laboratory.

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