Infect Dis Ther. 2021 Jul 11. doi: 10.1007/s40121-021-00488-6. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Tocilizumab randomized clinical trial results are heterogeneous because of the heterogenous population included in them.
METHODS: We conducted a meta-analysis with subgroup meta-analysis (PRISMA guidelines) between severe and non-severe COVID-19.
RESULTS: We included nine trials. Overall, the mortality rate was 24.5% (821/3357) in the tocilizumab group and 29.1% (908/3125) in the control group at day 28-30 (pooled OR, 0.85; 95% CI 0.76-0.96; p = 0.006). Considering the subgroup analysis, this benefit on mortality was confirmed and amplified in the severe COVID-19 group (pooled OR, 0.82; 95% CI 0.73-0.93; p = 0.001) but not in the non-severe COVID-19 group (pooled OR, 1.46; 95% CI 0.91-2.34; p = 0.12). For patients who were not mechanically ventilated at baseline (5523/6482), the pooled OR (0.74; 95% CI 0.64-0.85; p < 0.0001) for mechanical ventilation incidence at day 28-30 was in favor of tocilizumab (cumulative incidence of 14.8% versus 19.4% in tocilizumab and control arm, respectively). This benefit was confirmed in both subgroups, i.e., severe and non-severe COVID-19.
CONCLUSION: Tocilizumab is an effective treatment in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and hypoxemia by improving survival and decreasing mechanical ventilation requirement. The greatest benefit is observed in severe COVID-19.