GM-CSF-based treatments in COVID-19: reconciling opposing therapeutic approaches

Nat Rev Immunol. 2020 Aug;20(8):507-514. doi: 10.1038/s41577-020-0357-7. Epub 2020 Jun 23.


Therapeutics against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are urgently needed. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a myelopoietic growth factor and pro-inflammatory cytokine, plays a critical role in alveolar macrophage homeostasis, lung inflammation and immunological disease. Both administration and inhibition of GM-CSF are currently being therapeutically tested in COVID-19 clinical trials. This Perspective discusses the pleiotropic biology of GM-CSF and the scientific merits behind these contrasting approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects*
  • COVID-19
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor