Rheumatic drugs don’t work against Covid-19, Belgian study shows
Monday, 15 March 2021
Rheumatic drugs are not effective against Covid-19, researchers from Ghent University have discovered.
No positive effect on recovery, length of hospital stay or survival could be established, despite encouraging experiments in the Netherlands.
These conclusions were drawn after a Belgian study was launched with 342 coronavirus patients in 16 hospitals. But this study did not produce the expected results and even calls into question the use of rheumatic drugs (tocilizumab, siltuximab, anakinra).
“The treatment had no effect on the speed at which they recovered, even in the sickest patients,” says Bart Lambrecht of the University Hospital Ghent (UZ Gent).
During the first wave, doctors found the same substances in the blood of patients with exaggerated immune reactions in the lungs as those causing inflammation in rheumatoid patients, Lambrecht explained.
Similar research abroad has produced mixed results. Two studies show that tocilizumab, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis, reduces mortality and shortens stays in intensive care units. In contrast, six previous studies showed that rheumatic drugs were not effective.