First Report of Tocilizumab Use in a Cohort of Latin American Patients Hospitalized for Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia

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Valenzuela, Omar
Ibáñez, Sebastián
Poli, Cecilia
Roessler, Patricia
Aylwin, Mabel
Roizen, Gigia
Iruretagoyena, Mirentxu
Agar, Vivianne
Donoso, Javiera
Fierro, Margarita
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Introduction/objectives: An interleukin-6 inhibition strategy could be effective in selected COVID-19 patients. The objective is to present our experience of tocilizumab use in patients with severe COVID-19. Methods: Observational retrospective cohort study. Hospitalized patients were evaluated by our multidisciplinary team for eventual use of tocilizumab. Patients with progressive ventilatory impairment and evidence of a hyperinflammatory state despite usual treatment received tocilizumab 8 mg/kg intravenous (maximum dose 800 mg), in addition to standard treatment. The use and time of use of mechanical ventilation (MV), the change of the Alveolar-arterial (A-a) gradient, of the ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) and of inflammation laboratory parameters after 72 h of tocilizumab use was evaluated. Results: 29 patients received tocilizumab. 93.1% were men, 37.9% were obese, and 34.5% had hypertension. Of the 20 patients who were not on MV when receiving tocilizumab, 11 required non-invasive MV, for an average of 5 days, and one of them required intubation. A-a gradient, PaO2/FiO2, and inflammation parameters improved significantly. A better lymphocyte count, which improved significantly after tocilizumab use, was significantly associated with less use of MV. Five patients presented positive culture samples after tocilizumab, three being of clinical significance. A lower lymphocyte count was associated with having a positive culture. No other significant adverse events were seen. Conclusion: Our study suggests the utility and shows the safety of tocilizumab use in COVID-19 patients who have respiratory failure and evidence of hyperinflammation. Lymphocyte improvement was a predictor of good response.
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COVID-19 , SARS-CoV 2 , Lymphocyte , Mechanical ventilalion , Tocilizumab
Frontiers in Medicine, 2020, vol.7, art.596916