As of March 12, 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been confirmed in 125 048 people worldwide, carrying a mortality of approximately 3·7%,1 compared with a mortality rate of less than 1% from influenza. There is an urgent need for effective treatment. Current focus has been on the development of novel therapeutics, including antivirals and vaccines. Accumulating evidence suggests that a subgroup of patients with severe COVID-19 might have a cytokine storm syndrome. We recommend identification and treatment of hyperinflammation using existing, approved therapies with proven safety profiles to address the immediate need to reduce the rising mortality.