Fountains in Trafalgar Square are lit with blue lights to show support for the NHS in London, on January 7, 2021.(AP)
Fountains in Trafalgar Square are lit with blue lights to show support for the NHS in London, on January 7, 2021.(AP)

Covid-19: UK trial finds 2 more drugs reduce deaths, ICU stay

Two widely available drugs typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – tocilizumab and sarilumab – reduce the risk of death from the coronavirus disease by 24% and reduce stay in the intensive care unit by up to 10 days
By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 12:41 AM IST

Two widely available drugs typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – tocilizumab and sarilumab – reduce the risk of death from Covid-19 by 24% and reduce stay in the intensive care unit by up to 10 days, results from a UK government-backed trial published on Thursday show.

Most of the data came from the REMAP-CAP trial when the drugs were administered in addition to a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone, which was discovered in June 2020 through the RECOVERY clinical trial, which is already provided as standard of care to patients in the National Health Service (NHS).

The Department of Health said patients receiving these drugs left intensive care between seven and 10 days earlier on average. Updated guidance on the use of the drugs will be issued on Friday, encouraging hospitals to use tocilizumab while treating Covid-19 patients immediately.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said, “Today’s results are yet another landmark development in finding a way out of this pandemic and, when added to the armoury of vaccines and treatments already being rolled out, will play a significant role in defeating this virus.

“We have worked quickly to ensure this treatment is available to NHS patients without delay, meaning hundreds of lives will be saved. I am hugely proud of the significant role our NHS and its patients have played in this international trial.”

Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said, “The fact there is now another drug that can help to reduce mortality for patients with Covid-19 is hugely welcome news and another positive development in the continued fight against the virus.”

In June last year, the UK government approved dexamethasone as the world’s first treatment proven to reduce mortality for Covid-19. The REMAP-CAP trial found that the rate of death for those in intensive care units on corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone, and respiratory support alone was 35%, which was reduced to 28% when tocilizumab was also administered.

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Khabarovsk : Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Khabarovsk, 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Authorities in Russia have taken measures to curb protests planned for Saturday against the jailing of Navalny. AP/PTI(AP01_23_2021_000017B)(AP)
Khabarovsk : Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Khabarovsk, 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Authorities in Russia have taken measures to curb protests planned for Saturday against the jailing of Navalny. AP/PTI(AP01_23_2021_000017B)(AP)

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The reports describe Donald Trump's increasing frustration with Rosen's refusal to wield the power of the Justice Department to interfere in the count.(Reuters file photo)
The reports describe Donald Trump's increasing frustration with Rosen's refusal to wield the power of the Justice Department to interfere in the count.(Reuters file photo)

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The image first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a link to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website.(Reuters file photo)

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On day three of his presidency, Joe Biden announced 'The American Rescue Plan' that includes economic relief for most Americans.(AP)
On day three of his presidency, Joe Biden announced 'The American Rescue Plan' that includes economic relief for most Americans.(AP)

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Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)

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Biden admin launches inter-agency review of domestic extremism
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea.(REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea.(REUTERS)

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Former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US.(File photo/ Reuters)
Former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US.(File photo/ Reuters)

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A file photo of former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US. (REUTERS)
A file photo of former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US. (REUTERS)

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President Joe Biden reacts to a reporters question after signing executive orders in the State Dinning Room of the White House, in Washington.(AP)
President Joe Biden reacts to a reporters question after signing executive orders in the State Dinning Room of the White House, in Washington.(AP)

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Reuters
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Health workers wear protective gear inside a locked down portion of the Jordan residential area to contain a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong, China January 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu(REUTERS)
Health workers wear protective gear inside a locked down portion of the Jordan residential area to contain a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong, China January 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu(REUTERS)

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Chinese coast guard ships often come into close contact -- sometimes engaging in tense standoffs -- with foreign vessels, as they assert Beijing’s claims to much of the South and East China seas.(Representational/ Reuters)
Chinese coast guard ships often come into close contact -- sometimes engaging in tense standoffs -- with foreign vessels, as they assert Beijing’s claims to much of the South and East China seas.(Representational/ Reuters)

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Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:10 AM IST
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