February 25, 2021

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Solving COVID: February 17, 2021

1 min read

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduced deaths among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 in a new study. In the trial, 2,022 hospitalized COVID-19 patients received tocilizumab, while 2,094 patients received usual care; in the former group, 29 percent of patients died within 28 days, while 33 percent of patients died within 28 days in the latter group. Eighty-two percent of patients were taking a systemic steroid like dexamethasone. Additionally, tocilizumab shortened the amount of time until patients are discharged and reduced the need to go on a mechanical ventilator. The trial’s joint chief investigator, Martin Landray, said that the results “clearly show the benefits of tocilizumab and dexamethasone in tackling the worst consequences of COVID-19 — improving survival, shortening hospital stay, and reducing the need for mechanical ventilators.” [BBC News, Reuters]

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