BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China has expanded and optimized the utilization of drugs and therapies in the treatment of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to block the conversion of mild cases to severe cases and save critically ill patients.
Tocilizumab, with the common brand name Actemra, has been included in China's latest version of diagnosis and treatment guidelines on COVID-19.
Zhou Qi, deputy secretary general and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at a press conference Friday that the drug Tocilizumab has been found effective to block the inducement of the inflammatory storm.
In an initial clinical trial, Tocilizumab was used in 20 severe COVID-19 cases. And the body temperatures of all the patients dropped within one day. Nineteen of the patients were discharged from the hospital within two weeks, and one got better, according to Zhou.
Currently, the drug is under clinical trials in 14 hospitals in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, Zhou said.