No evidence yet that itolizumab, tocilizumab reduces deaths: ICMR

New Delhi: Director-General of the ICMR Balram Bhargava has said there is yet no evidence from trials that itolizumab and tocilizumab, two drugs, one of which has been developed by Bengaluru-based Biocon Biologics, reduce death in severely ill coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Both drugs are lab-cloned antibodies, and work at thwarting or reducing a rush of chemicals called pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released by the immune system to counter the coronavirus attack on lung cells.

Bhargava refuted the claim that the drug worked to save lives, and said more data was needed to establish efficacy in preventing deaths.

“We know that in severe Covid-19 patients, there is a problem of a cytokine storm. Cytokines are released, and they are responsible for a storm that ultimately leads to serious conditions. There are two drugs that are thought to be preventing the cytokine storm, Itolizumab and Tocilizumab. Neither of them have yet demonstrated mortality reduction by any trial. Trials are wanting, and are happening in different parts of the world to look at whether there is mortality reduction with these two drugs,” Bhargava said.


NT Bureau