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Tocilizumab is the second drug, after hydroxychloroquine, that had quickly earned global popularity as a Covid-19 treatment.
A recent study suggests that the drug tocilizumab may not prevent mortality in Covid-19 patients.
What is tocilizumab?
- It is an immunosuppressant, commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis, and marketed as Actemra by Swiss pharma company Roche.
- It was repurposed in January to fight severe lung infection in Covid-19 patients.
- Once it reached India by April-end, many Indian doctors initially reposed faith in the drug, some even calling it a “miracle drug”.
What are the latest findings?
- The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found tocilizumab was not effective in preventing death in moderately ill, hospitalised Covid-19 patients.
- At the end of 14 days, those given tocilizumab had no significant clinical improvements, except fewer serious infections, compared to those not administered the drug.
- 18% of the patients in the tocilizumab group had worsening of disease against 14.9% in the placebo group, 24.6% were still on oxygen support in the tocilizumab group against 21.2% in the other group.