Background: Open-label platform trials and a prospective meta-analysis suggest efficacy of anti-IL-6R therapies in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 receiving corticosteroids. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of sarilumab, an anti-IL-6R monoclonal antibody, in the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Methods: In this adaptive, phase 2/3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, adults hospitalized with COVID-19 (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04315298) received intravenous sarilumab or placebo. The phase 3 primary analysis population included patients with critical COVID-19 receiving mechanical ventilation randomized to sarilumab 400 mg or placebo. The primary outcome was proportion of patients with ≥1-point improvement in clinical status from baseline to day 22.
Results: There were 457 and 1365 patients randomized and treated in phases 2 and 3, respectively. In phase 3, patients with critical COVID-19 receiving mechanical ventilation (n = 298; 28.2% on corticosteroids), the proportion with ≥1-point improvement in clinical status (alive, not receiving mechanical ventilation) at day 22 was 43.2% in sarilumab and 35.5% in placebo (risk difference +7.5%; 95% CI, -7.4 to 21.3; P = .3261), a relative risk improvement of 21.7%. In post-hoc analyses pooling phase 2 and 3 critical patients receiving mechanical ventilation, the hazard ratio for death in sarilumab versus placebo was 0.76 (95% CI, .51-1.13) overall and 0.49 (95% CI, .25-.94) in patients receiving corticosteroids at baseline.
Conclusions: This study did not establish the efficacy of sarilumab in hospitalized patients with severe/critical COVID-19. Post-hoc analyses were consistent with other studies that found a benefit of sarilumab in patients receiving corticosteroids.
Keywords: COVID-19; Interleukin-6 receptor; hospitalized; monoclonal antibodies.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.