Conference 2021 Live Talk


Talk title

Potential effects of treatment with Itolizumab for decreasing plasma IL-6 levels in severely ill patients with COVID-19


Authors and Affiliations

Vityala Yethindra1, Tugolbai Tagaev2, Altynai Zhumabekova3, Datka Ysabaeva1

1. Department of Pathology, International Higher School of Medicine, International University of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
2. Department of Public Health and Healthcare, I.K. Akhunbaev Kyrgyz State Medical Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
3. City Maternity Hospital No. 2, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan




Although many patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have only mild to moderate symptoms, some progress to a severe or critical clinical status. Interleukin (IL)-6 plays an essential role in cytokine storm syndrome. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of treatment with itolizumab for decreasing plasma IL-6 levels in patients with severe COVID-19.


Twelve severely ill patients with COVID-19 were enrolled and underwent therapy with intravenous itolizumab (200 mg/dose); for 3 patients, a second dose was administered at 72 h after the initial dose, together with standard therapy. Serum samples of circulating IL-6 were obtained at 24-48 h after receiving the itolizumab and were analyzed using Human IL-6 Quantikine ELISA Kit. Baseline and demographic data are presented as the mean (± standard deviation) and n (%). The Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test was applied to evaluate the statistical significance of differences between categories. A P<0.05 was considered significant (2-sided). The analysis was performed with GraphPad Prism, v6.0.


Twelve severely ill patients with COVID-19 (mean age: 36.5 years [SD: 9.6, range:19-59]; 8 [60%] females) underwent therapy with itolizumab. Blood and biochemical analysis were normal, except for an increase in neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (6.214±5.937). The mean plasma IL-6 concentration decreased from 279.4 pg/mL to 53.6 pg/mL, and the pre-treatment serum IL-6 decreased to 31.7 pg/mL at 48 h after 1 dose of itolizumab. The magnitude of the reduction in IL-6 levels after treatment from baseline levels was 50 pg/mL (p=0.006), and the median reduction was 2.35 pg/mL (p=0.052).


Our findings demonstrated that a single dose of itolizumab is safe and effective for decreasing IL-6 levels in severely ill patients with COVID-19. Itolizumab helps to reduce the negative effects of cytokine storm syndrome in patients with COVID-19.