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Effect of Tocilizumab in Hospitalized Patients with Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia: A Case-Control Cohort Study

Sciprofile linkBenjamin Rossi, Sciprofile linkLee S. Nguyen, Sciprofile linkPhilippe Zimmermann, Sciprofile linkFaiza Boucenna, Sciprofile linkLouis Dubret, Sciprofile linkLouise Baucher, Sciprofile linkHelene Guillot, Sciprofile linkMarie-Anne Bouldouyre, Sciprofile linkYves Allenbach, Sciprofile linkJoe-Elie Salem, Sciprofile linkPaul Barsoum, Sciprofile linkArezki Oufella, Sciprofile linkHelene Gros
Published: 17 October 2020
 by  MDPI
Pharmaceuticals , Volume 13; doi:10.3390/ph13100317

Abstract: Tocilizumab, an anti-interleukin-6 receptor, administrated during the right timeframe may be beneficial against coronavirus-disease-2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia. All patients admitted for severe COVID-19 pneumonia (SpO2 ≤ 96% despite O2-support ≥ 6 L/min) without invasive mechanical ventilation were included in a retrospective cohort study in a primary care hospital. The treatment effect of a single-dose, 400 mg, of tocilizumab was assessed by comparing those who received tocilizumab to those who did not. Selection bias was mitigated using three statistical methods. Primary outcome measure was a composite of mortality and ventilation at day 28. A total of 246 patients were included (106 were treated with tocilizumab). Overall, 105 (42.7%) patients presented the primary outcome, with 71 (28.9%) deaths during the 28-day follow-up. Propensity-score-matched 84 pairs of comparable patients. In the matched cohort (n = 168), tocilizumab was associated with fewer primary outcomes than the control group (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.49 (95% confidence interval (95%CI) = 0.3–0.81), p-value = 0.005). These results were similar in the overall cohort (n = 246), with Cox multivariable analysis yielding a protective association between tocilizumab and primary outcome (adjusted HR = 0.26 (95%CI = 0.135–0.51, p = 0.0001), confirmed by inverse probability score weighting (IPSW) analysis (p < 0.0001). Analyses on mortality only, with 28 days of follow-up, yielded similar results. In this study, tocilizumab 400 mg in a single-dose was associated with improved survival without mechanical ventilation in patients with severe COVID-19.
Keywords: cytokine release syndrome / Severe Pneumonia / Anti-interleukin-6 / COVID-19 / SARS CoV2

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