A drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could cut the number of Covid deaths and speed up recovery, a new scientific trial has found.
The drug, tocilizumab, could save the lives of one in 25 coronavirus patients in hospital and reduce the need for ventilators in intensive care.
Researchers say around half of the people admitted to hospital with coronavirus could benefit from the treatment.
Scientists from the nationwide Recovery trial said when tocilizumab was given alongside the steroid dexamethasone, it reduced the absolute risk of mortality by four percentage points. The medicine was already being used by the NHS to treat some coronavirus patients after early results last month showed it reduced the risk of death as well as time spent in hospital by up to 10 days.
As a result of the latest findings, the health secretary said the drug would be made more widely available on the NHS to help treat Covid patients.
Source: The Independent, 11 February 2021