Sunday, 24 January, 2021


Critically ill Covid-19 patients to receive new potentially life-saving drugs

NHS patients to receive life-saving COVID-19 treatments that could cut hospital time by 10 days Critically ill Covid-19 patients to receive new potentially life-saving drugs
Patty Aguilar | 10 January, 2021, 02:54

"In particular, tocilizumab and sarilumab, and they'll shortly be on everybody's lips, which have been found to reduce the risk of death for critical ill patients by nearly a quarter and they've cut time spent in intensive care by as much as 10 days".

The worldwide study known as the REMAP-CAP trial has shown that the two drugs - tocilizumab and sarilumab - reduced mortality rate in COVID-19 patients from 35.8 percent in a control group to 27.3 percent.

The rheumatoid arthritis drugs, tocilizumab and sarilumab, should be considered in the treatment of COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care, according to updated NHS guidance.

Updated guidance will be issued tomorrow by the government and the NHS to trusts across the United Kingdom, encouraging them to use tocilizumab in their treatment of COVID-19 patients who are admitted to intensive care units, effective immediately.

"Today's results are yet another landmark development in finding a way out of this pandemic and, when added to the armoury of vaccines and treatments already being rolled out, (the two drugs) will play a significant role in defeating this virus", said Hancock.

'For the vast majority of the country, that means making sure we stay at home and protect the NHS. "This highlights a potential early window for treatment where the sickest patients may gain the most benefit from immune modulation treatment", he explained.

The UK government is working closely with Roche, which manufactures tocilizumab, to ensure treatments continue to be available to UK patients.

They improved recovery and survival in critically ill Covid-19 patients with organ support in ICU.

Hospital mortality was 28%, 22.2% and 35.8% in cohorts receiving tocilizumab, sarilumab and standard care, respectively.

"We've seen 5,000 new patients in hospital beds with COVID-19 over the past week - that's 10 full hospitals' worth of COVID patients.so it's a really big challenge".

The UK has played an integral role in these worldwide efforts: three-quarters of patients enrolled globally have been NHS patients, in 142 hospitals across the UK - roughly half of the 289 total sites across the world. Since March 2020, REMAP-CAP has recruited 3,900 patients in 15 countries at more than 290 hospitals worldwide.

Dr Lennie Derde, intensive care consultant and European coordinating investigator of the Remap-Cap trial, said the global nature of the trial was important, given the worldwide impact of the pandemic. Researchers said that tocilizumab, sold under the brand name Actemra, belongs to class of drugs called interleukin-6 or IL-6 that may tame the unsafe cytokine storms that occur then the immune system overreacts to a viral attack.

Treatment with tocilizumab or sarilumab is thought to cost somewhere between £750 and £1,000 and is administered intravenously either as a one or two dose regime.

Gordon added that previous trials using IL-6 receptor antagonists showed no clear benefit on either disease progression or survival in COVID-19 patients.

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