Tocilizumab and COVID-19: A Meta-Analysis of 2120 Patients with Severe Disease and Implications for Clinical Trial Methodologies

Azza Sarfraz, Zouina Sarfraz, Muzna Sarfraz, Hinna Aftab, Zainab Pervaiz
Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences 2020 November 27

BACKGROUND: Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, numerous therapies to counteract severe disease have emerged. The benefits of Tocilizumab for severely infected COVID-19 patients and the methodologies of ongoing clinical trials are explored.

METHODS: A systematic search adhering to PRISMA guidelines was conducted in PubMed, Cochrane Central, medRxiv, and bioRxiv using the following keywords: "Tocilizumab," "Actemra," "COVID-19." An additional sub-search was conducted on to locate ongoing tocilizumab trials.

RESULTS: A total of 13 studies were included in the meta-analysis comprising 2120 patients. The treatment group had lower mortality compared to the control group (OR=0.42, 95% CI=0.26 to 0.69, P-value=0.0005, I2=55%). A descriptive analysis of 50 registered trials was conducted.

CONCLUSION: This review meta-analyzed the therapeutic benefits of tocilizumab in COVID-19 patients with severe disease for mortality, mechanical ventilation, and the characteristics of COVID-19 registered trials.

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