This article was originally published here
BMJ Case Rep. 2021 Jan 8;14(1):e238210. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2020-238210.
As of 28 October 2020, there are over 44 000 000 confirmed COVID-19 infections and over 1 000 000 deaths worldwide, including 945 367 infections and 45 765 deaths in the UK. Acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs in 50% of patients with secondary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a hyperinflammatory syndrome characterised by a surge of cytokines, including interleukin 6 (IL-6). Here we describe the case of the first patient with severe COVID-19 pneumonia successfully treated with tocilizumab, a humanised monoclonal antibody against the IL-6 receptor, in the UK. Early treatment (after 7-10 days from the onset of symptoms) with tocilizumab could (1) reduce the risk of requiring non-invasive or invasive ventilation; (2) offer a chance of survival to people who are not fit for escalation or have refused to be ventilated; and (3) potentially increase the chance of survival in some patients who are already ventilated but fail to improve with supportive treatment.