Tocilizumab: a medicine against arthritis can treat severe Covid. Researchers from the UK and the Netherlands said it was “an absolutely incredible result”. The drug is not tested because researchers are so confident in the data, but the precise effect on survival is still being calculated. Other experts called for caution until full data is released. Tocilizumab targets the immune system, which overdrives in some patients with coronavirus. It is this reaction, rather than the virus itself, that can be fatal. The trial was conducted by Imperial College London, the UK’s National Critical Care Audit and Research Center and the University of Utrecht. He focused on the most severely ill patients, who were to be put on a respirator. Trials of the drug were halted two days ago because independent monitors said there was enough evidence, on the first 303 patients, to show it worked. However, the interpretation of the results is complex. They show an improvement in “outcomes”, but it is a statistical amalgamation of other measures such as survival rates and time in intensive care. Doctors know the drug does something, but it will take time to know if it saves lives or if it just speeds recovery. “We do not know yet, we hope it will be both,” said Professor Anthony Gordon Imperial. However, he said it was “very encouraging”, a “big achievement”, and that tocilizumab could “become the standard of care”. It will take weeks to properly evaluate the data, which have not yet been officially published. The treatment costs between £ 500 and £ 1,000 and is administered intravenously. Steroids, including dexamethasone, are the only drugs proven to save lives from Covid-19 and they tend to calm the entire immune system. Tocilizumab targets specific parts of this complex system. Researchers hope they have found another. Dr Lennie Derde, intensive care consultant at Utrecht University Medical Center, said: “This is an absolutely incredible result.” It is unprecedented to have a second effective treatment for critically ill patients in the months after the start of the pandemic. “Other experts called for caution until final results are analyzed, as previous studies have given a mixed picture. Professor Peter Horby, who was part of the University of Oxford, who showed dexamethasone to be protective, said: a result that suggests other more targeted anti-inflammatory drugs may also help. “The results so far on tocilizumab have been mixed, with four randomized controlled trials having reported results, two of which were negative and two were positive … #coronavirus # covid-19 #news # 00fastnews #breakingnews #latestnews #newsupdate.
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