#Tocilizumab for treatment of mechanically ventilated patients with #COVID-19

Severe COVID-19 can manifest in rapid decompensation and respiratory failure with elevated inflammatory markers, consistent with cytokine release syndrome for which IL-6 blockade is approved treatment

We assessed effectiveness and safety of IL-6 blockade with tocilizumab in a single-center cohort of patients with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. The primary endpoint was survival probability post-intubation; secondary analyses included an ordinal illness severity scale integrating superinfections. Outcomes in patients who received tocilizumab compared to tocilizumab-untreated controls were evaluated using multivariable Cox regression with propensity score inverse probability weighting (IPTW).

Results
154 patients were included, of whom 78 received tocilizumab and 76 did not. Median follow-up was 47 days (range 28-67). Baseline characteristics were similar between groups, although tocilizumab-treated patients were younger (mean 55 vs. 60 years), less likely to have chronic pulmonary disease (10% vs. 28%), and had lower D-dimer values at time of intubation (median 2.4 vs. 6.5 mg/dL).

In IPTW-adjusted models, tocilizumab was associated with a 45% reduction in hazard of death [hazard ratio 0.55 (95% CI 0.33, 0.90)] and improved status on the ordinal outcome scale [odds ratio per 1-level increase: 0.58 (0.36, 0.94)]. Though tocilizumab was associated with an increased proportion of patients with superinfections (54% vs. 26%; p<0.001), there was no difference in 28-day case fatality rate among tocilizumab-treated patients with versus without superinfection [22% vs. 15%; p=0.42]. Staphylococcus aureus accounted for ~50% of bacterial pneumonia.

Conclusions
In this cohort of mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients, tocilizumab was associated with lower mortality despite higher superinfection occurrence

https://bit.ly/3hfVnhm