Can Tocilizumab be used for the treatment of COVID-19? 

Tocilizumab for the treatment of COVID-19 


Tocilizumab (RoActemra®) is a recombinant monoclonal antibody primarily approved for the treatment of adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.  


TCZ was developed by Roche Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland). TCZ was designed in a way that competitively inhibits the binding of interleukin-6 (IL-6) to its receptors. The concentration of IL-6 significantly increases in the body of COVID-19 patients. This is why tocilizumab is considered a therapeutic option for treating severe COVID-19 patients. T-lymphocyte and macrophages of COVID-19 infected patients produce IL-6 causing the cytokine storm and severe inflammatory responses in lungs and other tissues. TCZ binds to the IL-6 receptor making the receptor incapable to bind IL-6 resulting in a reduced inflammatory response and obstructed the IL-6 signal transduction pathway. Consequently, TCZ becomes an efficient therapeutic drug for treating severe COVID-19 patients.  


TCZ effectively improves the clinical symptoms, hypoxygenmia, CT opacity, risk of mechanical ventilation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients and represses the deterioration of severe COVID-19 patients. Standardized COVID-19 treatment protocol issued by the Nepal Medical Council must be followed while recommending the TCZ drug. Common adverse effects reported with TCZ treatment are Neutropenia, superinfections, latent infection reactivation, and cardiac abnormalities. TCZ should be used and monitored under expert supervision during the treatment of COVID-19 patients to obtain better clinical outcomes and to avoid adverse events.  


Overall, standardized therapeutic protocols associated with a comprehensive strategy, including early massive screening, would appear to be critical in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


TCZ is manufactured by Roche Pharma Limited (Switzerland) and Cipla Limited (India). In Nepal, TCZ is imported and distributed as Tocilizumab injection (Actemra) 400mg / 20ml by Yetichem Distributor Private Limited, Kathmandu as per the import recommendation given by the Department of Drug Administration (DDA). The drug TCZ costs the patient NRs. 59,850 / - per vial. One should have a recommendation from the hospital for TCZ with prescription, along with the covid positive confirmation report and photo identity card of the person with prescription. The drug should be stored at 2-8 *C hence one should carry an ice bag while collecting the drug. 


Where you can find Tocizulamab? 


You can get it at Yetichem, 44-Mahadev Marg, Bag durbar, Sundhara. +977-1- 4243356, 4225244

Hamro Aspatal Pvt Ltd., Pharmacy, Airport Road, Biratnagar, 021-463668, 021-463639 


Phr. Aman Kumar Das

Phr. Kabin Maleku