Clinical outcomes after IL-6 blockade in patients with COVID-19 and HIV: a case series

HIV-COVID-19 Consortium

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3 Scopus citations


Background: In hospitalized people with HIV (PWH) there is an increased risk of mortality from COVID-19 among hospitalized PWH as compared to HIV-negative individuals. Evidence suggests that tocilizumab—a humanized monoclonal interleukin (IL)-6 receptor inhibitor (IL-6ri) antibody—has a modest mortality benefit when combined with corticosteroids in select hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are severely ill. Data on clinical outcomes after tocilizumab use in PWH with severe COVID-19 are lacking. Case presentation: We present a multinational case series of 18 PWH with COVID-19 who were treated with IL-6ri’s during the period from April to June 2020. Four patients received tocilizumab, six sarilumab, and eight received an undocumented IL-6ri. Of the 18 patients in the series, 4 (22%) had CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3; 14 (82%) had a suppressed HIV viral load. Eight patients (44%), all admitted to ICU, were treated for secondary infection; 5 had a confirmed organism. Of the four patients with CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3, three were treated for secondary infection, with 2 confirmed organisms. Overall outcomes were poor—12 patients (67%) were admitted to the ICU, 11 (61%) required mechanical ventilation, and 7 (39%) died. Conclusions: In this case series of hospitalized PWH with COVID-19 and given IL-6ri prior to the common use of corticosteroids, there are reports of secondary or co-infection in severely ill patients. Comprehensive studies in PWH, particularly with CD4 counts < 200 cells, are warranted to assess infectious and other outcomes after IL-6ri use, particularly in the context of co-administered corticosteroids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalAIDS Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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