Tocilizumab for the treatment of severe COVID-19 pneumonia with hyperinflammatory syndrome and acute respiratory failure: A single center study of 100 patients in Brescia, Italy.

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Tocilizumab for the treatment of severe COVID-19 pneumonia with hyperinflammatory syndrome and acute respiratory failure: A single center study of 100 patients in Brescia, Italy.

Autoimmun Rev. 2020 Jul;19(7):102568

Authors: Toniati P, Piva S, Cattalini M, Garrafa E, Regola F, Castelli F, Franceschini F, Airò P, Bazzani C, Beindorf EA, Berlendis M, Bezzi M, Bossini N, Castellano M, Cattaneo S, Cavazzana I, Contessi GB, Crippa M, Delbarba A, De Peri E, Faletti A, Filippini M, Filippini M, Frassi M, Gaggiotti M, Gorla R, Lanspa M, Lorenzotti S, Marino R, Maroldi R, Metra M, Matteelli A, Modina D, Moioli G, Montani G, Muiesan ML, Odolini S, Peli E, Pesenti S, Pezzoli MC, Pirola I, Pozzi A, Proto A, Rasulo FA, Renisi G, Ricci C, Rizzoni D, Romanelli G, Rossi M, Salvetti M, Scolari F, Signorini L, Taglietti M, Tomasoni G, Tomasoni LR, Turla F, Valsecchi A, Zani D, Zuccalà F, Zunica F, Focà E, Andreoli L, Latronico N

Abstract
A hyperinflammatory syndrome (HIS) may cause a life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. A prospective series of 100 consecutive patients admitted to the Spedali Civili University Hospital in Brescia (Italy) between March 9th and March 20th with confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia and ARDS requiring ventilatory support was analyzed to determine whether intravenous administration of tocilizumab (TCZ), a monoclonal antibody that targets the interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor, was associated with improved outcome. Tocilizumab was administered at a dosage of 8 mg/kg by two consecutive intravenous infusions 12 h apart. A third infusion was optional based on clinical response. The outcome measure was an improvement in acute respiratory failure assessed by means of the Brescia COVID Respiratory Severity Score (BCRSS 0 to 8, with higher scores indicating higher severity) at 24-72 h and 10 days after tocilizumab administration. Out of 100 treated patients (88 M, 12 F; median age: 62 years), 43 received TCZ in the intensive care unit (ICU), while 57 in the general ward as no ICU beds were available. Of these 57 patients, 37 (65%) improved and suspended noninvasive ventilation (NIV) (median BCRSS: 1 [IQR 0-2]), 7 (12%) patients remained stable in NIV, and 13 (23%) patients worsened (10 died, 3 were admitted to ICU). Of the 43 patients treated in the ICU, 32 (74%) improved (17 of them were taken off the ventilator and were discharged to the ward), 1 (2%) remained stable (BCRSS: 5) and 10 (24%) died (all of them had BCRSS≥7 before TCZ). Overall at 10 days, the respiratory condition was improved or stabilized in 77 (77%) patients, of whom 61 showed a significant clearing of diffuse bilateral opacities on chest x-ray and 15 were discharged from the hospital. Respiratory condition worsened in 23 (23%) patients, of whom 20 (20%) died. All the patients presented with lymphopenia and high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, ferritin and IL-6 indicating a HIS. During the 10-day follow-up, three cases of severe adverse events were recorded: two patients developed septic shock and died, one had gastrointestinal perforation requiring urgent surgery and was alive at day 10. In conclusion, our series showed that COVID-19 pneumonia with ARDS was characterized by HIS. The response to TCZ was rapid, sustained, and associated with significant clinical improvement.

PMID: 32376398 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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