Researchers at the University of Texas and EnLiSense, a Texas startup, have developed a skin sweat sensor that can measure cytokine levels continuously for up to 168 hours. The technology has been adapted so that it can detect cytokines involved in the deadly cytokine storms that occur in patients with COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza. The researchers hope that it might serve as an early warning system for an impending storm, allowing early treatment.
Cytokine storms involve a massive release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to intense inflammation that can cause significant damage to organs, sometimes leading to death. It can occur in severe cases of COVID-19, so methods to predict an impending storm would be very useful for clinicians. Early treatment with anti-inflammatories could help to save a patient’s life.