Tocilizumab is a recombinant humanized monoclonal IL-6 receptor antibody indicated for the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.Following clinical observation from China, a series of Italian studies have been carried out to evaluate the off-label use of tocilizumab in COVID-19 patients.
The European Journal of Internal Medicine (EJIM) has recently accepted for publication three articles on the off-label use of tocilizumab in patients with severe COVID-19.
These studies suggest that tocilizumab may have a therapeutic value by improving the outcome of patients with severe COVID-19 infections.
However, as Prof Marcel Levi points out in an editorial accompanying the articles, ‘these results need confirmation in a prospective and properly controlled randomized trial before this treatment can be advocated’.
At the same time, Levi continues, ‘it is tempting to speculate why specific anti-IL-6 targeted treatment would be more effective than more general anti-inflammatory interventions. Apart from the prominent role of IL-6 in the host-defense response in COVID-19 it may be that specific beneficial effects of tocilizumab on the coagulation abnormalities associated with COVID-19 are also

Owing to the interest so far raised by these articles, the Editors decided to hold a live web session session for an open discussion. Full information at https://smc-media.eu/web/tocilizumab/.

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