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Antibodies reduce deaths

A clinical trial led by researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, identified a second drug capable of reducing mortality among patients with severe COVID-19: monoclonal antibody tocilizumab, produced by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche to treat arthritis. In the RECOVERY trial, the drug was given to 2,022 people with COVID-19 of varying severity and compared with conventional treatments offered to 2,094 participants. The mortality rate was 29% in the first group and 33% in the second, a reduction of four percentage points or 12%, according to an article yet to undergo peer review (medRxiv, February 11). Associated with the corticosteroid dexamethasone, which was the first drug confirmed effective against the disease, tocilizumab reduced deaths among patients receiving oxygen by cannula or mask by one-third, and among intubated patients by 50%.