Use of Corticosteroids in COVID-19: Should it be Considered as a Standard-of-care Therapy?

Patricia Roessler, MD; Gigia Roizen, MD; Sebastián Ibáñez, MD; Omar Valenzuela, MD


J Clin Rheumatol. 2021;27(2):46-49. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


By the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Its appearance was rapidly evident throughout the world. In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the disease as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus that causes COVID-19 is named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and it has been responsible of more than 1,200,000 deaths in the world as of November 7, 2020.[1,2]

Until a vaccine or other effective treatment is available, the pandemic has created the urgent need to repurpose different therapeutic tools to stop the disease. In this context, corticosteroids (CSs) emerge as a highly available and known therapeutic alternative worldwide.

Corticosteroids had been used in the setting of previous severe coronavirus infection, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) with controversial results. SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV share many genetic features, and SARS-CoV-2 is highly homologous to SARS-CoV.[3]

We will discuss the mechanism of action of CSs, and we will critically review the current literature to analyze the arguments against and in favor of using this therapy in COVID-19.