03/01: Interleukin-6 receptor antagonists are possible treatment for critically-ill Covid patients

With millions of reported cases of COVID-19, researchers and clinicians are working to find treatments for the disease that can improve outcomes. In a recent study, researchers associated with a variety of institutions, including Imperial College London, have found that two interleukin-6 inhibitors improved various health outcomes for COVID-19 patients on organ support. Many believe that many of the serious symptoms associated with COVID-19 is due to an excessive inflammatory response from the immune system of those infected, and Interleukin-6 one of the proteins released by the body during immune response. The drugs inhibit interleukin-6 receptors and have been used to treat inflammatory issues such as rheumatoid arthritis. In the experiment, researchers compared outcomes for those that received tocilizumab and sarilumab within 24 hours of starting organ support, and those that received the current standard of care. The results indicate that the drugs improved survival, time until ICU and hospital discharge, and fewer adverse effects.