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Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis ; 14: 1759720X221116405, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2009254


Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1 blockade showed beneficial results in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and evidence of cytokine release at the early disease stage. Here, we report outcomes of open-label therapy with a combination of blocking IL-6 with tocilizumab 8 mg/kg up to 800 mg and IL-1 receptor antagonist anakinra 100-300 mg over 3-5 days. Thirty-one adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and signs of cytokine release, mean age 54 (30-79) years, 5 female, 26 male, and mean symptom duration 6 (3-10) days were treated. Patients with more than 10 days of symptoms, evidence of bacterial infection/elevated procalcitonin and other severe lung diseases were excluded. Computed tomography (CT) scans of the lung were performed initially and after 1 month; inflammatory activity was assessed on a scale 0-25. Twenty-five patients survived without intubation and mechanical lung ventilation, two patients died. C-reactive protein decreased in 19/31 patients to normal ranges. The mean activity CT score decreased from 14 (8-20) to 6 (0-16, n = 16). In conclusion, most of our patients recovered fast and sustained, indicating that early interruption of cytokine release might be very effective in preventing patients from mechanical ventilation, death, and long-term damage.