Familial Mediterranean Fever and COVID-19: Friends or Foes? (2020)


PMID: 33072117

DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.574593

Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) and COVID-19 show a remarkable overlap of clinical symptoms and similar laboratory findings. Both are characterized by fever, abdominal/chest pain, elevation of C-reactive protein, and leukocytosis. In addition, colchicine and IL-1 inhibitors treatments that are effective in controlling inflammation in FMF patients have recently been proposed for off-label use in COVID-19 patients. Thus, FMF may resemble a milder recapitulation of the cytokine storm that is a hallmark of COVID-19 patients progressing to severe disease. We analyzed the sequence of the MEFV-encoded Pyrin protein – whose mutations cause FMF- in mammals, bats and pangolin. Intriguingly, although Pyrin is extremely conserved in species that are considered either a reservoir or intermediate hosts for SARS-CoV-2, some of the most common FMF-causing variants in humans are present as wildtype residues in these species. We propose that in humans, Pyrin may have evolved to fight highly pathogenic infections.

Alessandro Stella
Mohamed Lamkanfi
Piero Portincasa