Coronavirus Update/ Naples Experimental Arthritis drug works on Coronavirus COVID-19.


Patient with COVID-19 improves within 24 Hours.

TOCILIZUMAB was first used in China and got very good results. Now it's being used in Italy as well.

11 March 2020


Make this Drug Immediately a national protocol, to extend the use of "tocilizumab", an anti-arthritis drug, in patients infected with coronavirus and in critical conditions. This is what oncologist Paolo Ascierto from Pascales Hospital in Naples is requesting.

"The drug has been shown to be effective against Covid-19 pneumonia. In Naples, Italy he explains, “the first 2 patients were treated with and within 24 hours the therapy showed excellent results and tomorrow one of the 2 patients will come out of intubation because his condition has improved. Yesterday we started the treatment for 2 other people and today we will treat two more. "

"Other patients," explains Ascierto, president of the Melanoma Foundation and Director of the Melanoma Oncology Unit, Immunotherapy and Cancer and Innovative Therapies of the IRCCS National Cancer Institute Naples Pascale Foundation - have already received therapy at Bergamo's Fanos centers and Milan ”.

"But it is very important that it is used as quickly as possible in order to save more lives. Our facility together with Colli Hospital was the first in Italy to use this therapy in patients with coronavirus. ”

"We set up a real research bridge with our Chinese colleagues who had already observed an improvement in patients treated in this way," explains Gerardo Botti, Scientific Director of Pascales. Only international cooperation will allow us to develop an effective weapon against Covid-19. The positive results of tocilizumab need to be confirmed, a national study is needed. "

Source ANSA

As of today the 14 March 2020, Italy has officially accepted to use this medicine to another 250 people and see the results. This is a big step forward to curing people infected with coronavirus covid19.

Coronavirus: the free arthritis drug that accelerates healing, but only for severe cases

THE DRUG used for rheumatoid arthritis which is giving good results in severe cases of interstitial pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus will be distributed free of charge to hospitals that request it to combat the most serious cases. This is what we read in the letter sent to the Minister of Health and to all the Presidents of the Regions, from the pharmaceutical company that produces the tocilizumab, Roche. The supply will be guaranteed for this period of emergency, without prejudice to the supplies necessary to allow patients who receive it for the treatment of the diseases for which it is authorized to continue to have it. Its use to treat pneumonia caused by the CoViD-19 disease (Corona Virus Disease 19) is, in fact, off-label: that is, there are no clinical studies that demonstrate its efficacy against the new virus. But, following positive results previously obtained in China and now also in Italy on some patients, the scientific community is showing interest in its use.

The drug
Tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind to the interleukin-6 receptor, a molecule closely involved in the inflammation process and present at high levels in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or in cancer patients who have cytokine release syndrome following the administration of CAR-T therapy. The drug acts as an anti-inflammatory: by preventing interleukin-6 from binding to its receptors, it reduces inflammation. Even in severe cases of interstitial pneumonia caused by CoViD-19, the so-called cytokine release syndrome occurs which results in severe organ failure and death. The drug, therefore, is a therapy not directed against the virus itself, but against one of the reactions that the body puts in place as a defense mechanism against the virus, that is, the inflammatory response.

Protocol to extend the use
Thanks to a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute IRCCS "Pascale" Foundation of Naples and the Colli Hospital, five days ago the drug was used on two patients suffering from severe pneumonia. In 24 hours the therapy has shown excellent results: as a result, a task force of experts led by Paolo Ascierto, president of the Melanoma Foundation and Director of the Melanoma Oncology Unit, Cancer Immunotherapy and Innovative Therapies of the National Cancer Institute IRCCS "Pascale Foundation" ”Of Naples, Franco Buonaguro, director of Molecular Biology and Viral Oncogenesis of Pascale, and Vincenzo Montesarchio, director of Oncology of the Colli Hospital, developed a national protocol to extend the use of tocilizumab in patients infected with coronavirus that are found in very critical conditions.


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