Roche arthritis drug reduces COVID-19 death risk, Oxford research suggests

Roche's rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab reduced the risk of death in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 in a large U.K. study conducted by the University of Oxford. 

Researchers examined the outcomes of 2,022 patients randomly selected to receive tocilizumab and 2,094 patients who received usual care. 

Twenty-nine percent of patients receiving tocilizumab died within 28 days compared to 33 percent of patients in the control group. 

"This means that for every 25 patients treated with tocilizumab, one additional life would be saved," the University of Oxford said in a Feb. 11 news release. 

Researchers also found the arthritis drug shortened the time to discharge and reduced patients'  need for a ventilator.

The research has not been peer reviewed and follows several other smaller studies that showed mixed results about tocilizumab's benefit for COVID-19 patients, reports Bloomberg.


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