COVID-19 has had an adverse impact on the world, leading to health, social, and economic losses. Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 inhibitor used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, giant cell arteritis, and cytokine release syndrome. It also has antiviral properties. This study aims to determine if tocilizumab can improve the clinical outcomes for patients with severe or critical COVID-19.

This randomized, open-label trial included a total of 129 adult patients with confirmed critical or severe COVID-19 who were receiving supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation. The participants were randomly assigned to receive tocilizumab (n=65) and standard care (n=64). The primary outcome of the study was a composite of death or mechanical ventilation.

The findings suggested that 18 patients (28%) in the tocilizumab group and 13 patients (20%) in the standard care group received mechanical ventilation or died on day 15. Further analysis showed that 17% of patients in the tocilizumab group died on day 15, compared with 3% in the standard care group. Adverse events occurred in 43% of patients in the tocilizumab group and 34% of patients in the standard care group.

The research concluded that in patients with severe or critical COVID-19, tocilizumab was not superior to standard care.

Ref:  https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n84