The efficacy of IL-6 inhibitor Tocilizumab in reducing severe COVID-19 mortality: a systematic review.
ABSTRACT: Background:In the absence of highly effective antiviral therapies against SARS-CoV-2, it is crucial to counter the known pathophysiological causes of severe COVID-19. Evaluating the efficacy existing drugs may expedite the development of such therapeutics. Severe COVID-19 is largely the result of a dysregulated immune response characterized by lymphocytopenia, neutrophilia and critical hypercytokinemia, or "cytokine storm," which is largely mediated by the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). The IL-6 inhibitor tocilizumab (TCZ) could potentially suppress the effects of the pro-inflammatory cytokine and thereby lower mortality from the disease. This systematic analysis aimed to investigate and synthesize existing evidence for the efficacy of TCZ in reducing COVID-19 mortality. Methodology:PubMed and SearchWorks searches were performed to locate clinical studies with primary data on TCZ treatment for severe COVID-19. Sixteen case-control studies comparing mortality between TCZ and standard of care (SOC) were identified for quantitative synthesis. The systematic analysis was pre-approved through PROSPERO (CRD42020193479). Results:Combined mortality for the TCZ-treated and SOC groups were 26.0% and 43.4% respectively. In all but one of the studies, the odds ratio of mortality from COVID-19 pointed towards lower fatality with TCZ vs the SOC. A combined random effects odds ratio calculation yielded an odds ratio of 0.453 (95% CI [0.376-0.547], p < 0.001). Additionally, 18 uncontrolled trials were identified for qualitative analysis producing a raw combined mortality rate of 16.0%. Conclusions:Important caveats to this research include the lack of prospective randomized control trials and the absence of data from the large COVATA study from the published literature. However, results from this systematic analysis of published research provide positive evidence for the potential efficacy of TCZ to treat severe COVID-19, validating the ethical basis and merit of ongoing randomized controlled clinical trials.
Project description:Introduction: Tocilizumab (TCZ) is an anti-interleukin-6 antibody that has been used for the treatment of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, concrete evidence of its benefit in reducing mortality in severe COVID-19 is lacking. Therefore, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant studies that compared the efficacy of TCZ in severe COVID-19 vs. standard of care (SOC) alone. Methods: A literature search for studies that compared "tocilizumab" and "standard of care" in the treatment of COVID-19 was done using major online databases from December 2019 to June 14, 2020. Search words "Tocilizumab," "anti-interleukin-6 antibody," and "COVID-19" or "coronavirus 2019" in various combinations were used. Articles in the form of abstracts, letters without original data, case reports, and reviews were excluded. Data were gathered on an Excel sheet, and statistical analysis was performed using Review Manager 5.3. Results: Sixteen studies were eligible from 693 initial studies, including 3,641 patients (64% males). There were 13 retrospective studies and three prospective studies. There were 2,488 patients in the SOC group (61.7%) and 1,153 patients (68.7%) in the TCZ group. The death rate in the TCZ group, 22.4% (258/1,153), was lower than in the SOC group, 26.21% (652/2,488) [pooled odds ratio 0.57 (95% CI 0.36-0.92), p = 0.02]. There was a significant heterogeneity (inconsistency index = 80%) among the included studies. Conclusion: The addition of TCZ to the SOC might reduce mortality in severe COVID-19. More extensive randomized clinical trials are needed to validate these findings.
Project description:The COVID-19 disease is an unprecedented international public health emergency and considerably impacts the global economy and health service system. While awaiting the development of an effective vaccine, searching for the therapy for severe or critical COVID-19 patients is essential for reducing the mortality and alleviating the tension of the health service system. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) induced by elevated interleukin-6 was recognized to underscore the pathology of severe COVID-19 patients. Inhibiting CRS by agents suppressing IL-6 may relieve symptoms, shorten the hospital stay and reduce the need for oxygen therapy. Although evidence from randomized, double-blinded clinical trials is still lacking, the IL-6R inhibitor tocilizumab (TCZ) has shown some clinical benefits in the treatment of severe COVID-19 patients and have been included in clinical guidelines. In this review, we focused on the possible mechanisms of TCZ in the treatment of CRS and highlighted some significant considerations in the use of TCZ to treat COVID-19 patients.
Project description:Objective: This study aimed to assess the role of Tocilizumab therapy (TCZ) in terms of ICU admission and mortality rate of critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Design: Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia were prospectively enrolled in SMAtteo COvid19 REgistry (SMACORE). A retrospective analysis of patients treated with TCZ matched using propensity score to patients treated with Standard Of Care (SOC) was conducted. Setting: The study was conducted at IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Hospital, Pavia, Italy, from March 14, 2020 to March 27, 2020. Participants: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 hospitalized in our institution at the time of TCZ availability. Interventions: TCZ was administered to 21 patients. The first administration was 8 mg/kg (up to a maximum 800 mg per dose) of Tocilizumab intravenously, repeated after 12 h if no side effects were reported after the first dose. Main Outcomes and Measures: ICU admission and 7-day mortality rate. Secondary outcomes included clinical and laboratory data. Results: There were 112 patients evaluated (82 were male and 30 were female, with a median age of 63.55 years). Using propensity scores, the 21 patients who received TCZ were matched to 21 patients who received SOC (a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and prophylactic dose of low weight heparin). No adverse event was detected following TCZ administration. This study found that treatment with TCZ did not significantly affect ICU admission (OR 0.11; 95% CI between 0.00 and 3.38; p = 0.22) or 7-day mortality rate (OR 0.78; 95% CI between 0.06 and 9.34; p = 0.84) when compared with SOC. Analysis of laboratory measures showed significant interactions between time and treatment regarding C-Reactive Protein (CRP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), platelets and international normalized ratio (INR) levels. Variation in lymphocytes count was observed over time, irrespective of treatment. Conclusions: TCZ administration did not reduce ICU admission or mortality rate in a cohort of 21 patients. Additional data are needed to understand the effect(s) of TCZ in treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Project description:COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has produced a serious emergency for global public health, placing enormous stress on national health systems in many countries. Several studies suggest that cytokine storms (interleukins) may play an important role in severe cases of COVID-19. Neutralizing key inflammatory factors in cytokine release syndrome (CRS) could therefore be of great value in reducing the mortality rate. Tocilizumab (TCZ) in its intravenous (IV) form of administration -RoActemra® 20?mg/mL (Roche)- is indicated for treatment of severe CRS patients. Preliminary investigations have concluded that inhibition of IL-6 with TCZ appears to be efficacious and safe, with several ongoing clinical trials. This has led to a huge increase in demand for IV TCZ for treating severe COVID-19 patients in hospitals, which has resulted in shortages. Here, we present a comparability study assessing the main critical physicochemical attributes of TCZ solutions used for infusion, at 6?mg/mL and 4?mg/mL, prepared from RoActeram® 20?mg/mL (IV form) and from RoActemra® 162?mg (0.9?mL solution pre-filled syringe, subcutaneous form), to evaluate the use of the latter for preparing clinical solutions required for IV administration, so that in a situation of shortage of the IV medicine, the SC form could be used to prepare the solutions for IV delivery of TCZ. It is important to remember that during the current pandemic all the medicines are used off-label, since none of them has yet been approved for the treatment of COVID-19.
Project description:BACKGROUND:COVID-19 patients can develop a cytokine release syndrome that eventually leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Since interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a relevant cytokine in ARDS, the blockade of its receptor with Tocilizumab (TCZ) could reduce mortality and/or morbidity in severe COVID-19. OBJECTIVE:To determine whether baseline IL-6 serum levels can predict the need for IMV and the response to TCZ. METHODS:Retrospective observational study performed in hospitalized patients diagnosed of COVID-19. Clinical information and laboratory findings, including IL-6 levels, were collected approximately 3 and 9 days after admission to be matched with pre- and post-administration of TCZ. Multivariable logistic and linear regressions, and survival analysis were performed depending on outcomes: need for IMV, evolution of arterial oxygen tension/fraction of inspired oxygen ratio (PaO2/FiO2) or mortality. RESULTS:One hundred and forty-six patients were studied, predominantly male (66%); median age was 63 years. Forty-four patients (30%) required IMV, and 58 patients (40%) received treatment with TCZ. IL-6 levels>30 pg/ml was the best predictor for IMV (OR:7.1; p<0.001). Early administration of TCZ was associated with improvement of oxygenation (PaO2/FiO2) in patients with high IL-6 (p=0.048). Patients with high IL-6 not treated with TCZ showed high mortality (HR: 4.6; p=0.003), as well as those with low IL-6 treated with TCZ (HR: 3.6; p=0.016). No relevant serious adverse events were observed in TCZ-treated patients. CONCLUSION:Baseline IL-6>30 pg/ml predicts IMV requirement in patients with COVID-19 and contributes to establish an adequate indication for TCZ administration.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can lead to a massive cytokine release. The use of the anti-interleukin-6 receptor monoclonal antibody tocilizumab (TCZ) has been proposed in this hyperinflammatory phase, although supporting evidence is limited. We retrospectively analyzed 88 consecutive patients with COVID-19 pneumonia that received at least one dose of intravenous TCZ in our institution between 16 and 27 March 2020. Clinical status from day 0 (first TCZ dose) through day 14 was assessed by a 6-point ordinal scale. The primary outcome was clinical improvement (hospital discharge and/or a decrease of ?2 points on the 6-point scale) by day 7. Secondary outcomes included clinical improvement by day 14 and dynamics of vital signs and laboratory values. Rates of clinical improvement by days 7 and 14 were 44.3% (39/88) and 73.9% (65/88). Previous or concomitant receipt of subcutaneous interferon-? (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.23; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.06-0.94; P?=?.041) and serum lactate dehydrogenase more than 450?U/L at day 0 (aOR: 0.25; 95% CI: 0.06-0.99; P?=?.048) were negatively associated with clinical improvement by day 7. All-cause mortality was 6.8% (6/88). Body temperature and respiratory and cardiac rates significantly decreased by day 1 compared to day 0. Lymphocyte count and pulse oximetry oxygen saturation/FiO2 ratio increased by days 3 and 5, whereas C-reactive protein levels dropped by day 2. There were no TCZ-attributable adverse events. In this observational single-center study, TCZ appeared to be useful and safe as immunomodulatory therapy for severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
Project description:Tocilizumab (TCZ) is used for treating moderate-to-severe Covid-19 pneumonia by targeting interleukin-6 receptors (IL-6Rs) and reducing cytokine release. Yet, in spite of this therapy, patients with vs. patients without diabetes have an adverse disease course. In fact, glucose homoeostasis has influenced the outcomes of diabetes patients with infectious diseases. Of the 475 Covid-19-positive patients admitted to infectious disease departments (University of Bologna, University Vanvitelli of Napoli, San Sebastiano Caserta Hospital) in Italy since 1 March 2020, 31 (39.7%) hyperglycaemic and 47 (60.3%) normoglycaemic patients (blood glucose levels ?140mg/dL) were retrospectively evaluated at admission and during their hospital stay. Of note, 20 (64%) hyperglycaemic and 11 (23.4%) normoglycaemic patients had diabetes (P<0.01). At admission, hyperglycaemic vs. normoglycaemic patients had fivefold higher IL-6 levels, which persisted even after TCZ administration (P<0.05). Intriguingly, in a risk-adjusted Cox regression analysis, TCZ in hyperglycaemic patients failed to attenuate risk of severe outcomes as it did in normoglycaemic patients (P<0.009). Also, in hyperglycaemic patients, higher IL-6 plasma levels reduced the effects of TCZ, while adding IL-6 levels to the Cox regression model led to loss of significance (P<0.07) of its effects. Moreover, there was evidence that optimal Covid-19 infection management with TCZ is not achieved during hyperglycaemia in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. These data may be of interest to currently ongoing clinical trials of TCZ effects in Covid-19 patients and of optimal control of glycaemia in this patient subset.
Project description:AIM:This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy profile of low-dose tocilizumab (TCZ), to prevent disease progression, subcutaneously administered to patients with moderate COVID-19 pneumonia and hyperinflammation. METHODS:Clinical characteristics and outcomes were retrospectively analysed of patients - with laboratory-confirmed bilateral COVID-19 pneumonia, hyperinflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP) ?20 mg/dL), no hypoxaemia (oxygen saturation >90%), and no contraindications to TCZ - who were treated with subcutaneous TCZ (324 mg) administered within 48 h from hospitalization on top of standard of care (SOC). They were compared with matched controls treated with SOC only before TCZ was available at the institution. Clinical data were available for all patients until death or until day 35 for those discharged from hospital. FINDINGS:Ten consecutive patients (six males, median age 55 years) treated with TCZ on top of SOC, and ten patients (six males, median age 56 years) treated with SOC only were included. TCZ was well-tolerated with no clinically relevant adverse events. TCZ was associated with a reduction in CRP at day 1 (-50%, IQR -28 to -80) and day 3 (-89%, IQR -79 to -96; p = 0.005 for within-group), whereas there was no significant change in CRP values in the SOC group (p < 0.001 for between-group comparisons at both time points). TCZ resulted in a parallel improvement in oxygenation, as assessed by the ratio of partial pressure of oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (P/F) ratio, which increased at day 1 (+11%, IQR +6 to +16; p = 0.005 for within-group and p = 0.006 for between-group comparisons), and day 3 (+23%, IQR +16 to +34; p = 0.005 for within-group and p = 0.003 for between-group comparisons). None of the TCZ-treated patients had disease progression, defined as requirement of oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation, whereas progression occurred in five (50%) patients among the SOC group. CONCLUSIONS:Low-dose subcutaneous TCZ may be a safe and promising therapeutic option administered on top of SOC to prevent disease progression in hospitalised patients with moderate COVID-19 and hyperinflammation.
Project description:Although the starting event in COVID-19 is a viral infection some patients present with an over-exuberant inflammatory response, leading to acute lung injury (ALI) and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Since IL-6 plays a critical role in the inflammatory response, we assessed the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab (TCZ) in this single-centre, observational study in all Covid-19 in-patient with a proven SARS-CoV-2 rapidly progressing infection to prevent ALI and ARDS. 104 patients with COVID-19 treated with TCZ had a lower mortality rate (5·8%) compared with the regional mortality rate (11%), hospitalized patient's mortality (10%), and slightly lower than hospitalized patients treated with our standard of care alone (6%). We found that TCZ rapidly decreased acute phase reactants, ferritin and liver release of proteins. D-Dimer decreased slowly. We did not observe specific safety concerns. Early administration of IL6-R antagonists in COVID-19 patients with impending hyperinflammatory response, may be safe and effective treatment to prevent, ICU admission and further complications. Graphical abstract Unlabelled Image Highlights • The lack of RCT forced the use of potential treatments in an emergency context, and results are of particular relevance.• Early administration of IL6-R antagonist tocilizumab, may be an effective and safe treatment for moderate to severe SARS-CoV2 positive patients.• Tocilizumab may prevent irreversible cytokine release syndrome CRS.• Tocilizumab reduced intubation, ICU admission, and decreased the risk of mortality.• Future prospective RCT will give answer about which are the first line drugs to treat COVID-19.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To describe the clinical characteristics and predictors of major outcomes in patients treated with tocilizumab (TCZ) for severe COVID-19 pneumonia. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Case series of all sequential patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia treated with TCZ at an Academic Spanish hospital (March 12 - May 2, 2020). Clinical outcomes: death, length of hospital stay. An early clinical response to TCZ (48-72 h after the administration) was assessed by variations in respiratory function markers, Brescia COVID Respiratory Severity Scale (BCRSS), inflammatory parameters, and patients' and physicians' opinion. Associations were tested by multiple logistic regression. RESULTS:From a cohort of 236 patients, 77 patients treated with TCZ were included (median age 62 years (IQR 53.0-72.0), 64.9% were males), 42.9% had Charlson index ?3; hypertension (41.6%), obesity (34.7%), and diabetes (20.8%). Median follow-up was 83.0 days (78.0-86.5), no patient was readmitted. ICU admission was required for 42 (54.5%), invasive mechanical ventilation in 38 (49.4%) and 10 patients died (12.9% global, 23.8% at ICU admitted). After multivariate adjustment, TCZ response by BCRSS (OR 0.03 (0.01-0.68), p = 0.028), and Charlson index (OR 3.54 (1.20-10.44), p = 0.022) has been identified as independent factors associated with mortality. Median of hospital stay was 16.0 days (11.0-23.0); BCRSS, physician subjective and D-dimer response were associated with shorter hospitalization stay. CONCLUSIONS:In a Mediterranean cohort, use of tocilizumab for severe COVID-19 show 12.9% of mortality. Early TCZ-response by BCRSS and low comorbidity were associated with increased survival. Early TCZ-response was related to shorter median hospital stay.