New Delhi, April 8: As most parts of the world continue to reel under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibodies drug, is emerging as key treatment for patients hospitalised due to COVID-19 infection. Arthritis drug tocilizumab, according to some studies, have proved effective in preventing deaths due to COVID-19. The drug was administered to a group of patients in India too. Zydus Cadila Seeks DCGI Nod for Use of Hepatitis Drug for COVID-19 Treatment.

The Randomised Evaluation of COViD-19 Therapy (RECOVERY), funded by the UK government, conducted clinical trial, during which tocilizumab was given to COVID-19 patients on oxygen. The drug was found to have reduced the relative risk of death by 14 per cent and reduced the time spent in hospital by five days. Accordingly, the UK government announced that thousands more patients in UK, who are hospitalised due to COVID-19, will receive tocilizumab as a treatment.

Prior to this study, the international clinical trial REMAP-CAP also found that tocilizumab and sarilumab reduced the risk of death for COVID-19 patients when administered within 24 hours of entering intensive care. Another study, conducted last year, reported similar findings.

"In hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, tocilizumab reduced the likelihood of progression to the composite outcome of mechanical ventilation or death, but it did not improve survival," the study, published at, said.

However, in India, tocilizumab did not show promising results in COVID-19 patients. The drug was administered under trial to 183 patients in several top hospitals in the country, including 42 in Rohtak's PGIMS. Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij was one of the recipients.

"No significant difference was observed between the group that was given tocilizumab and the other which was put on standard care. Thus, our study did not support the routine use of tocilizumab in adults with Covid. However, there might be a role for it in patients with severe Covid that should be defined further," Dr Dhruv Choudhary, nodal officer for COVID-19 in Haryana, who was part of the trials, told a newspaper.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 08, 2021 01:51 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website