J Infect Public Health. 2021 May 31;14(8):1021-1027. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2021.05.015. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a severe inflammatory response contributing to respiratory and systemic manifestations, morbidity, and mortality in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
METHODS: Tocilizumab (TCZ) efficacy on mortality and length of hospital stay was retrospectively evaluated in patients who received TCZ and compared with that in controls with a similar severity of COVID-19. The primary endpoint was survival probability on day 28. The secondary endpoints included survival at day 14 and length of hospital stay.
RESULTS: Of the 148 patients included in the study, 62 received TCZ and standard of care, whereas 86 served as a control group and received only standard of care. The two groups were similar, although TCZ-treated patients were more likely to exhibit hypertension (46.7% vs. 29.8%), chronic kidney disease (14.5% vs. 1.1%), and high Charlson score (1.18 vs. 1.00; p = 0.006) and less likely to receive corticosteroid treatment (48.5% vs. 93.0%). TCZ was associated with lower mortality on both day 28 (16.1% vs. 37.2%, p = 0.004) and day 14 (9.7% vs. 24.4%, p = 0.022). The hospital stay was longer in the TCZ-treated than in the control group (15.6 ± 7.59 vs.17.7 ± 7.8 days, p = 0.103). Ten patients (16.0%) in the TCZ-treated group developed infections.
CONCLUSION: TCZ was associated with a lower likelihood of death despite resulting in higher infection rates and a non-significant longer hospital stay.