Tocilizumab as treatment for COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis.World J Methodol. 2021 May 20; 11(3):95-109.WJ
The majority of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have good prognoses, but some develop a critical illness that can lead to death. Evidence shows severe acute respiratory syndrome is closely related to the induced cytokine storm. Interleukin-6 is a key player; its role in systemic inflammation is well known.
To evaluate the effect of tocilizumab (TCZ), an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist, on the outcomes for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, Web of Science, MedRxiv, Science Direct, and the Cochrane Library were searched from inception to 9th June 2020 for observational or prospective studies reporting results of hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19 infection treated with TCZ. Effect sizes were reported as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and an OR less than 1 was associated with a better outcome in those treated with TCZ.
Overall 13476 patients (33 studies; n = 3264 received TCZ) with COVID-19 pneumonia and various degree of severity were included. Outcome was improved with TCZ. In the primary analysis (n = 19 studies reporting data), mortality was reduced in patients treated with TCZ (OR = 0.64, 95%CI: 0.47-0.87; P < 0.01). In 9 studies where risk of death with TCZ use was controlled for other variables mortality was reduced by 57% (OR = 0.43, 95%CI: 0.27-0.7; P < 0.01). Intensive care need (mechanical ventilation) was also reduced (OR = 0.36, 95%CI: 0.14-0.89; P = 0.02).
In COVID-19-infected patients treated with TCZ, outcome may be improved compared to those not treated with TCZ.