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PAHO delivers Tocilizumab vials to treat Covid-19 patients

PAHO delivers Tocilizumab vials to treat Covid-19 patients

Washington, Dec 22 (Prensa Latina) In an effort to increase equitable access to COVID-19 therapeutics, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) delivered more than 11,000 Tocilizumab vials to improve treatment for severe and critically-ill Covid-19 patients in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Tocilizumab has been shown to reduce deaths in hospitalized patients with severe or critical Covid-19, who are rapidly deteriorating or need increased levels of oxygen, and who have a significant inflammatory response.

The purchase, worth more than US$2 million, was procured by PAHO and supported by the U.S. Government.

“There is clear evidence that tocilizumab can help save lives in hospitalized Covid-19 patients,” Sylvain Aldighieri, Incident Manager for Covid-19 at PAHO, said. “The medication was not available in many countries of the region, so PAHO wanted to ensure they have this additional tool for the clinical management of patients with Covid-19 and reduce mortality.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Covid-19 has caused more than 2.8 million deaths in the region of the Americas. While vaccination has significantly decreased hospitalizations, the virus continues to cause severe disease particularly in at-risk groups, such as the elderly or those with serious underlying medical conditions. In the past week alone, Covid-19 was responsible for over 4,300 deaths in the region.

An immunosuppressant, tocilizumab delivers monoclonal antibodies that target and block Interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptors. Cell protein Interleukin-6 induces an inflammatory response and is found in high levels in patients critically-ill with Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) added tocilizumab to its list of prequalified treatments for Covid-19 in early 2022. The drug was originally developed to treat arthritis and has been authorized for this use in many countries.

Given intravenously, tocilizumab should be used in hospitals “alongside standard of care measures for severe Covid-19, such as oxygen, corticosteroids, and other medications,” said Ludovic Reveiz, Health Research Management advisor at PAHO.

Studies have shown that it reduces mortality and complications, and that it can improve the overall condition of the patient. In the clinical trial recovery, tocilizumab also reduced patients’ time in hospital.

Countries that have received the PAHO donation of tocilizumab since mid-September are Belize, Bolivia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela. Panama expects to receive it soon.


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