Effectiveness of Tocilizumab, Sarilumab, and Anakinra for critically ill patients with COVID-19 The REMAP-CAP COVID-19 Immune Modulation Therapy Domain Randomized Clinical Trial

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.


The interleukin-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab improves outcomes in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the effectiveness of other immune modulating agents is unclear.


We evaluated four immunomodulatory agents in an ongoing international, multifactorial, adaptive platform trial. Adult participants with COVID-19 were randomized to receive tocilizumab, sarilumab, anakinra, or standard care (control). In addition, a small group (n=21) of participants were randomized to interferon-β1a. The primary outcome was an ordinal scale combining in-hospital mortality (assigned -1) and days free of organ support to day 21. The trial used a Bayesian statistical model with pre-defined triggers for superiority, equivalence or futility.


Statistical triggers for equivalence between tocilizumab and sarilumab; and for inferiority of anakinra to the other active interventions were met at a planned adaptive analysis. Of the 2274 critically ill participants enrolled, 972 were assigned to tocilizumab, 485 to sarilumab, 378 to anakinra and 418 to control. Median organ support-free days were 7 (interquartile range [IQR] –1, 16), 9 (IQR –1, 17), 0 (IQR –1, 15) and 0 (IQR –1, 15) for tocilizumab, sarilumab, anakinra and control, respectively. Median adjusted odds ratios were 1.46 (95%CrI 1.13, 1.87), 1.50 (95%CrI 1.13, 2.00), and 0.99 (95%CrI 0.74, 1.35) for tocilizumab, sarilumab and anakinra, yielding 99.8%, 99.8% and 46.6% posterior probabilities of superiority, respectively, compared to control. Median adjusted odds ratios for hospital survival were 1.42 (95%CrI 1.05,1.93), 1.51 (95%CrI 1.06, 2.20) and 0.97 (95%CrI 0.66, 1.40) for tocilizumab, sarilumab and anakinra respectively, compared to control, yielding 98.8%, 98.8% and 43.6% posterior probabilities of superiority, respectively, compared to control. All treatments appeared safe.

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