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Disease X-19 Medical Review

Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv: Treatment of ARDS and hyperinflammation in COVID-19 with IL-6 antagonist Tocilizumab: a tertiary care experience from Pakistan


Cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 is characterized by hyperinflammation which manifests as ARDS, multi-organ failure, and high inflammatory parameters. Tocilizumab, an IL-6 antagonist has been used in COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with conflicting results from different parts of the world. We conducted a retrospective descriptive study from Feb 2020 to May 2020 on COVID-19 patients with ARDS and hyperinflammation characterized by raised CRP and/or ferritin. A total of 244 patients with COVID-19 were admitted out of which 107 had ARDS. Thirty patients had both ARDS and hyperinflammation and received tocilizumab. The mean age was 62.5 years (SD: 13.5) and the majority were male (83%). The mean CRP pre-treatment was 217.5 mg/L and post 48 to 72 hours of tocilizumab treatment was 98.5 mg/L. Twenty-one patients (70%) also received concomitant intravenous methylprednisolone. Of the 30 patients, 7 died and 20 recovered. Ten patients required intensive care unit admission and nine developed nosocomial infections. COVID-19 associated aspergillosis was diagnosed in three patients post tocilizumab treatment. Mortality was significantly higher in patients who developed a nosocomial infection and who required intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV). Our study is the first to describe the treatment outcomes with tocilizumab from a low-middle income country. The availability and cost of tocilizumab in our region which makes it imperative to understand its potential for use in our setting. Our study supports the use of tocilizumab in a select patient population with COVID-19 and recommends monitoring of nosocomial infections and opportunistic infections.

Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv