International – Roche’s anti-inflammatory drug reduces deaths in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

Tocilizumab, which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, was found to reduce the relative risk of death by 14% when used alongside the steroid dexamethasone in COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen in the RECOVERY trial.

In June 2020, the RECOVERY trial found that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.

In the latest set of results, 29% of patients in the tocilizumab group died within 28 days compared to 33% of patients in the placebo group, which is an absolute difference of 4%.

The drug reduced the chance of death or the need for mechanical ventilation from 38% to 33%.

Treatment with tocilizumab, plus dexamethasone, also reduced the time patients spent in hospital by five days, the researchers found…