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03-04-2020 | Rheumatology | News | Article

News in brief

Mild COVID-19 reported in a patient with SSc–ILD

Author: Claire Barnard

medwireNews: The authors of a case report discuss the experience of a patient with systemic sclerosis (SSc)-associated interstitial lung disease (ILD) who developed a mild form of COVID-19.

Oliver Distler (University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland) and colleagues say that the patient was a 57-year-old woman with SSc–ILD, obesity, and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, who was receiving treatment with tocilizumab.

As reported in a letter published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, treatment with the interleukin (IL)-6 inhibitor was temporarily suspended following a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. The patient experienced a mild COVID-19 disease course, and was free of symptoms after 10 days. Tocilizumab was resumed after symptom resolution and a negative test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Noting that higher levels of IL-6 have been associated with increased mortality risk in Chinese COVID-19 patients, Distler and team suggest that agents such as tocilizumab “may even prevent the development of severe COVID-19.”

Therefore, “future prospective, controlled studies should include an analysis for the potential preventive effects of IL-6 blockade in COVID-19,” they conclude.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

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Ann Rheum Dis 2020; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-217442