Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso and Vice Mayor Dr. Maria Sheila ‘Honey’ Lacuna-Pangan received on Friday (April 16) 1,000 vials of tocilizumab (Actemra 80mg) which will be used to treat those with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Malaking tulong ito para sa mga pasyente natin (This is a great help for our patients),” Domagoso said.
The drug was purchased by the city government from health care distributor Globo Asiatico.
Domagoso also said that the drug would give patients a “fighting chance against the virus.”
On April 2020, the use of tocilizumab in treating COVID-19 has been approved by the Department of Health (DOH) based on the results of the Solidarity Trials of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tocilizumab can only be used for critical and severe COVID-19 cases. It is not recommended for the use of mild and asymptomatic cases, according to the DOH.
The city government also said that the drug is administered via injection. Tocilizumab is normally used for the treatment of multiple inflammatory diseases such as moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers from the University of Oxford and the US National Institutes of Health indicate that tocilizumab can improve the chances of survival of COVID-19 patients experiencing severe symptoms.