ISSN: 0034-8376
eISSN: 2564-8896





Effect of Tocilizumab in Mortality among Patients with Severe and Critical Covid-19: Experience in a Third-Level Medical Center




Bernardo A. Martinez-Guerra, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Nereyda A. de-León-Cividanes, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Karla M. Tamez-Torres, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, México City, México Carla M. Román-Montes, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Sandra Rajme-López, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Edgar Ortiz-Brizuela, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, México, D.F., México Carlos A. Aguilar-Salinas, Department of Nutrition, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Juan Sierra-Madero, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico. José Sifuentes-Osornio, Department of Medicine. Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico Alfredo Ponce-de-León, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico María F. González-Lara, Department of Infectious Diseases, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico


Background: Trials evaluating safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) show contradictory results. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of tocilizumab in hospital mortality among patients with severe COVID-19 in a third-level medical center. Methods: This prospective cohort study included patients with severe and critical COVID-19. Primary outcome was death during hospitalization. Secondary outcomes included invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), days on IMV, ventilator-free days (VFDs), length of hospital stay (LOS), and development of hospitalacquired infections (HAIs). Bivariate, multivariate, and propensity score matching analysis were performed. Results: During the study period, 99/794 (12%) patients received tocilizumab. Male patients, health care workers, and patients with increased inflammatory markers received tocilizumab more frequently. No difference in hospital mortality was observed between groups (34% vs. 34%, p = 0.98). Tocilizumab was not independently associated with mortality. No significant treatment effects were observed in propensity score analysis. IMV was more frequent (46% vs. 11%, p < 0.01) and LOS was longer (12 vs. 7 days, p < 0.01) in the tocilizumab group, reflecting increased severity. Although HAIs were more frequent in the tocilizumab group (22% vs. 10%, p < 0.01), no difference was seen after adjusting for IMV (38% vs. 40%, p = 0.86). Conclusions: In our study, tocilizumab was not associated with decreased hospital mortality among patients with severe COVID-19.



Keywords: Tocilizumab. COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2. Mexico.