Interleukin-37: A Link Between COVID-19, Diabetes, and the Black Fungus

Front Microbiol. 2022 Jan 13:12:788741. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.788741. eCollection 2021.


The COVID-19 pandemic involved millions of people and diabetes was identified as an associated comorbidity. Initiation of systemic corticosteroids in patients suffering from severe COVID-19 was associated with lower mortality. A surge of invasive fungal infections of the maxillofacial region, namely mucormycosis, was linked to a deadly infection known as black fungus. Black fungus, diabetes, corticosteroids, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) all have a dysregulated immune response in common, which partly could also be attributed to interleukin 37 (IL-37). IL-37, a new cytokine of the IL-1 family, known for broadly reducing innate inflammation as well as acquired immune responses. The use of corticosteroids in diabetic COVID-19 patients, crowded hospitals, and lack of medical oxygen should be carefully considered to reduce COVID-associated secondary infections.

Keywords: COVID-19; IL-37; T2D; corticosteroids; mucormycosis.

Publication types

  • Review