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Immune dysregulation is characteristic of the more severe stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Understanding the mechanisms by which the immune system contributes to COVID-19 severity may open new avenues to treatment. Here we report that elevated interleukin-13 (IL-13) was associated with the need for mechanical ventilation in two independent patient cohorts. In addition, patients who acquired COVID-19 while prescribed Dupilumab had less severe disease. In SARS-CoV-2 infected mice, IL-13 neutralization reduced death and disease severity without affecting viral load, demonstrating an immunopathogenic role for this cytokine. Following anti-IL-13 treatment in infected mice, in the lung, hyaluronan synthase 1 (Has1) was the most downregulated gene and hyaluronan accumulation was decreased. Blockade of the hyaluronan receptor, CD44, reduced mortality in infected mice, supporting the importance of hyaluronan as a pathogenic mediator, and indicating a new role for IL-13 in lung disease. Understanding the role of IL-13 and hyaluronan has important implications for therapy of COVID-19 and potentially other pulmonary diseases. SummaryL-13 levels are elevated in patients with severe COVID-19. In a mouse model of disease, IL-13 neutralization results in reduced disease and lung hyaluronan deposition. Similarly, blockade of hyaluronans receptor, CD44, reduces disease, highlighting a novel mechanism for IL-13-mediated pathology.

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