COVID-19 pneumonia treated with ultra-low doses of radiotherapy (ULTRA-COVID study): a single institution report of two cases

Strahlenther Onkol. 2021 May;197(5):429-437. doi: 10.1007/s00066-020-01743-4. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


Introduction: Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, healthcare systems have focused their efforts into finding a treatment to avoid the fatal outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome due to coronavirus‑2 (SARS-CoV-2). Benefits and risks of systemic treatments remain unclear, with multiple clinical trials still ongoing. Radiotherapy could play a role in reducing the inflammatory response in the lungs and relieve life-threatening symptoms.

Methods: We designed a prospective study of Ultra-Low Doses of Therapy with Radiation Applied to COVID-19 (ULTRA-COVID) for patients who suffer pneumonia, are not candidates for invasive mechanical ventilation and show no improvement with medical therapy.

Results: We present the preliminary results of two patients diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia treated with ULTRA-COVID. After one radiotherapy session, significant clinical response and a good radiological response was observed in both cases, resulting in both patients being discharged from hospital in less than 2 weeks after radiation treatment.

Conclusion: Preliminary clinical and radiological results suggest a potential benefit of treating COVID-19 pneumonia with ULTRA-COVID. Identifier: NCT04394182.

Keywords: COVID-19 pneumonitis; Cytokine storm; Inflamatory response; Radiation; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • COVID-19 / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Preliminary Data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiotherapy / methods
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • SARS-CoV-2 / radiation effects*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data