A new drug gives hope to covid-19 patients!

A new drug in the fight against covid-19! The world’s largest study of COVID-19 has brought more good news: the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab reduces the risk of death of people hospitalized with covid-19 disease, reduced their need for a mechanical ventilator and reduced time spent in hospital. A preprint of the data has been published on medRxiv.

“This is an incredibly significant result,” said Athimalaipet Ramanan, a rheumatologist at the University of Bristol, who was not involved in the study but is on the steering committee of a tocilizumab trial in India.

“This is probably the second drug that has an impact on mortality,” he says after dexamethasone. If the data is correct, it’s “fantastic news,” adds Jason Pogue, a pharmacist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and president of the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists. “I think this will (and I think should) lead to more widespread use in the United States,” Pogue wrote in a statement.

But tocilizumab is about 100 times more expensive than dexamethasone, again raising questions about how to ensure that people around the world can benefit from scientific advances against COVID-19.

A new drug gives hope to covid-19 patients: tocilizumab

Used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the protein that serves as a receptor for interleukin-6 (IL-6), a signaling molecule in the immune system.

This diminishes the immune response, which is often hyperactive in the late stage of COVID-19, causing serious illness and sometimes death. Shortly after the pandemic began, doctors began testing tocilizumab against COVID-19 in small clinical trials. They were encouraged when the recovery showed in June 2020 that dexamethasone reduced COVID-19 deaths by up to a third in hospitalized patients. That drug quickly became part of the standard of care.

A new drug gives hope to the coronavirus pandemic

In the study, 2022 patients were randomized to receive tocilizumab and compared to 2094 others randomized to receive routine care; 82% of patients also received dexamethasone. After 28 days, 596 patients in the tocilizumab group died, compared with 694 in the control group, a reduction in the mortality rate from 33% to 29%. This means that an average of 25 patients must be treated with this drug to save a life.

This may seem like a small effect compared to dexamethasone, but “an absolute 4% reduction in mortality is not marginal,” says Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.

Early COVID-19 studies with tocilizumab had mixed results but were less than recovery. The recently published results from the trial with the randomized, built-in, multifactorial adaptive platform for community-acquired pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) convinced some doctors that the drug is beneficial, Pogue wrote.

“Others, given the mixed data package of previous clinical trials, were waiting for RECOVERY,” he wrote. And, although the REMAP-CAP study included only the sickest patients, recovery results suggest that the benefit extends to patients with milder illness.

The treatment costs about £ 500.

“This will be another tool that rich countries can add to the mix, but not something that will be widely available to the rest of the world,” Jha added.

Source: Doctorul Zilei by www.doctorulzilei.ro.

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