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Tocilizumab improves hospital survival in critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit. Pinterest

A drug normally used in rheumatoid arthritis and cancer treatments — tocilizumab — improves hospital survival in critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), say researchers.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Rheumatology, included 630 patients who were admitted to the ICUs of 13 Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals in New Jersey.


Among other treatments, tocilizumab was considered for off-label usage for the patients whose respiratory symptoms were declining; many of whom were requiring mechanical ventilator support.

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In the observational study, 210 patients received tocilizumab, and the other 420 did not.

“Our work in treating this terrible virus, and learning more about it each day, continues to benefit thousands of patients as the pandemic continues,” said Robert C Garrett, CEO from the Hackensack Meridian Health in the US.


Tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody, which binds and blocks the interleukin (IL)-6 receptor and helps damper the inflammatory response. Pinterest

Covid-19 has three phases: the early or viral phase (with fast viral replication), the pulmonary phase (marked by inflammation and pneumonia as the body tries to fight the virus in the lungs) and the inflammatory phase (in which excessive inflammation reaches and affects many organs and patients are often in the ICU).

As part of both the pulmonary and inflammatory phases, the immune system is “supercharged” and secretes in the blood numerous cytokines, particularly interleukin (IL)-6, which induces further inflammation.

Tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody, which binds and blocks the interleukin (IL)-6 receptor and helps damper the inflammatory response.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: कोरोना के दौर में ‘वर्क फ्रॉम होम’ वालों की भी कहानी सुनने लायक

The activity of tocilizumab was first shown in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, where a similar phenomenon of overactive and growing T cells induce a “cytokine storm.”

This provided a rationale to try tocilizumab in Covid-19 patients.

The findings showed a statistically significant decrease in hospital-related deaths among the patients who received the tocilizumab.


There was roughly 36% decrease in hospital-related mortality among the ICU patients who received the drug, as compared with patients in the ICU who didn’t receive it. Pinterest

A roughly 36 per cent decrease in hospital-related mortality among the ICU patients who received the drug, as compared with patients in the ICU who didn’t receive it.

Also Read: I Feel Comedy can be Utilised for Positive Changes: Vir Das

Importantly, it appeared that higher levels of a blood test marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, could predict which ICU patients might benefit most from the tocilizumab therapy, potentially allowing doctors to tailor therapy to those most in need.

“These real-time findings have helped to point us the way forward,” the study authors wrote.

Earlier this month, another study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that patients experiencing severe Covid-19 symptoms had improved outcomes when administered an Interleukin-6 (IL6ri) inhibitor, sarilumab or tocilizumab. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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