If the news report Umuaka Times monitored last week from the BBC is anything to go by, the world may soon return to normalcy once again as hope rises for the elimination of Coronavirus. A drug known as tocilizumab which was hitherto used for the treatment of arthritis has shown a seriously tremendous improvement towards the dreaded Coronavirus. Michelle Roberts, the health editor of BBC news online reported that, “A drug normally used to treat arthritis can be a life-saver for some of the sickest hospital patients with Covid19, new research shows.”
The report claims that tocilizumab has the capacity to reduce death by half of the number of patients and ensures that there would be no need to move patients to intensive care units in the hospitals as a result of Covid19.
Umuaka Times gathered that Wendy Coleman, 62, who was administered with the treatment last year at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital over her severe Covid-19 status, volunteered to take part in the trial. Hear her: “I was struggling to breathe quite badly and on the verge of being placed in an intensive care unit. After I was given tocilizumab, my condition stabilized and I didn’t get any worse. Up until then, it was quite scary as I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not,” she said.
The BBC reports that clinical trials involving over 4,000 volunteers like the 62 year old Wendy, showed a tremendous impact.”Half of these Covid19 patients were given tocilizumab, via a drip, alongside usual care with a life-saving cheap steroid drug called dexamethasone. In that group, compared to another group that did not receive the new drug: tocilizumab cut death risk – 596 (29%) of the patients in the tocilizumab group died within 28 days compared with 694 (33%) patients in the usual care group and it reduced the chance of a patient needing to go on a ventilator or dying from 38% to 33% .”
The report went further to say that “tocilizumab and dexamethasone should cut death risk by about a third for patients on oxygen and halve it for those on a ventilator.”
According to the BBC report, ” Prof Martin Landray, joint chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial and a medical expert at Oxford University, said: “Used in combination, the impact is substantial. This is good news for patients and good news for the health services that care for them in the UK and around the world.”
“Dr Charlotte Summers, an intensive care medic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said: “These findings are a tremendous step forwards. This therapy looks like it keeps people out of the intensive care unit so they never need to see people like me which can only be a good thing.”
The treatment isn’t cheap, costing around £500 per patient on top of the £5 course of dexamethasone. But the advantage of using it is clear – and less than the cost per day of an intensive care bed of around £2,000.
The drugs dampen down inflammation, which can go into overdrive in Covid patients and cause damage to the lungs and other organs.
The preliminary trial results will soon be submitted to a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are working quickly and closely with colleagues across the health system and sector to ensure every NHS patient who needs this treatment should be able to access it – reducing further pressures on the NHS and potentially saving thousands of lives.”
Umuaka Times gathered that Prof Stephen Powis, a medical director at NHS described the whole process as a serious breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus.