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COVID-19 drugs rollout for hospital patients after research find

COVID-19 drugs rollout for hospital patients after research find

Intensive care patients with COVID-19 are to get drugs that can improve survival and reduce hospital stays, following results from an NIHR-supported study.

Giving patients tocilizumab and sarilumab can reduce the relative risk of death by 24% when given within 24 hours of entering intensive care, the REMAP-CAP study reported.

Patients receiving these drugs, typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, also left intensive care between seven to 10 days earlier on average.

The study involved more than 3,900 patients in 15 European countries, including 46 in Berkshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire.

The rollout of these treatments could contribute significantly towards reducing pressures on hospitals over the coming weeks and months.

Due to the clinical implications for patients, researchers released findings before they have been peer reviewed, but are working to analyse and publish them as soon as possible.

In November, the study reported that tocilizumab significantly improves outcomes for critically ill patients with severe COVID-19.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “This is a significant step forward for increasing survival of patients in intensive care with COVID-19.

“The data shows that tocilizumab, and likely sarilumab, speed up and improve the odds of recovery in intensive care, which is crucial for helping to relieve pressure on intensive care and hospitals and saving lives.”