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Severe pneumonia and multiorgan dysfunction in COVID-19 and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) are two diseases that can associate with an altered immune response to the infecting virus. To determine the similarities and differences in the cytokine and chemokine responses in these two infections, we compared responses in patients with varying severity of COVID-19 and acute dengue at different time points of illness. During early disease, patients who proceeded to develop COVID-19 severe pneumonia (SP) and DHF had significantly higher levels of IL-6, IL-10 and MIP3α than those who developed mild illness. The lowest levels of IFNγ in early illness were seen in those who succumbed to their illness due to COVID-19. Levels of serum IL-10 (p = 0.0001), IL-6 (p = 0.002), MIP-3α (p = 0.02) and CD40-L levels (p = 0.002) significantly increased from 5 to 9 day of illness to 10-21 day of illness in patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19, but not in those with mild illness. In contrast, these cytokine/chemokine levels remained unchanged in those with DHF or dengue fever (DF) during febrile and critical phases. Although IL-10 levels were significantly higher in COVID-19 patients with SP, patients with DHF had 25-fold higher levels, whereas IL-6 levels were 11-fold higher in those with COVID-19 SP. IL-10 and other cytokines were evaluated in a larger cohort of patients during early illness (≤ 4 days) who proceeded to develop DF (n = 71) or DHF (n = 64). Of the cytokines evaluated, IL-10 was significantly higher (p 

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





Centre for Dengue Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.


Humans, Dengue, Interleukin-6, Interleukin-10, Chemokine CCL20, Interferon-gamma, Cytokine Release Syndrome, COVID-19