School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has produced a world-wide collapse of social and economic infrastructure, as well as constrained our freedom of movement. This respiratory tract infection is nefarious in how it targets the most distal and highly vulnerable aspect of the human bronchopulmonary tree, specifically, the delicate yet irreplaceable alveoli that are responsible for the loading of oxygen upon red cell hemoglobin for use by all of the body's tissues.

In most symptomatic individuals, the disease is a mild immune-mediated syndrome, with limited damage to the lung tissues. About 20% of those affected experience a disease course characterized by a cataclysmic set of immune activation responses that can culminate in the diffuse and irreversible obliteration of the distal alveoli, leading to a virtual collapse of the gas-exchange apparatus.

Here, in Part I of a duology on the characterization and potential treatment for COVID-19, we define severe COVID-19 as a consequence of the ability of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to trigger what we now designate for the first time as a ‘Prolific Activation of a Network-Immune-Inflammatory Crisis’, or ‘PANIC’ Attack, in the alveolar tree. In Part II we describe an immunotherapeutic hypothesis worthy of the organization of a randomized clinical trial in order to ascertain whether a repurposed, generic, inexpensive, and widely available agent is capable of abolishing ‘PANIC’; thereby preventing or mitigating severe COVID-19, with monumental ramifications for world health, and the global pandemic that continues to threaten it.


Copyright © 2020 The Author(s)

Publication Title

Journal of the Neurological Sciences



Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department


Included in

Public Health Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.