Background: Pneumonia is the most frequent complication of COVID-19, due to an aberrant host immune response that is associated with an acute respiratory distress syndrome, and, in most critical patients, with a "cytokine storm". IL-6 might play a key role in the cytokine storm and might be a potential target to treat severe and critical COVID-19. Tocilizumab is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody, directed against IL-6 receptor.
Methods: This multicentre study project includes a single-arm phase 2 study and a further parallel cohort, enrolling hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and oxygen saturation at rest in ambient air ≤93% or requiring respiratory support. Patients receive tocilizumab 8 mg/kg (up to 800 mg) as one intravenous administration. A second administration (same dose) after 12 h is optional. Two-week and one-month lethality rates are the co-primary endpoints. Sample size planned for the phase 2 study is 330 patients. The parallel cohort will include patients who cannot enter the phase 2 study because being intubated from more than 24 h, or having already received tocilizumab, or the phase 2 study has reached sample size. Primary analysis will include patients enrolled in the phase 2 study. Results of the primary analysis will be validated in the prospective cohort of patients consecutively registered after phase 2 closure from March 20 to March 24, who were potentially eligible for the phase 2 study.
Conclusion: This trial aims to verify the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in the Italian population with COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory impairment. EudraCT Number: 2020-001110-38; Clinicaltrials.gov ID NCT04317092.
Keywords: COVID-19 pneumonia; Phase 2 study; Tocilizumab.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.