Starting this week, two new drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab –will become a standard part of NHS treatment for Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care.

Results from an encouraging new clinical trial show that the drugs – normally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – could help to save the lives of one in twelve Covid-19 patients in intensive care.  

The two new candidates are the latest in a growing arsenal of Covid-19 treatments.  

Tocilizumab and sarilumab

Some critically ill Covid patients die from overwhelming inflammation in the body, caused by the immune system going into overdrive and attacking the body’s organs instead of the virus. Tocilizumab and sarilumab are both anti-inflammatory drugs and suppress this extreme immune response.