A two-arm, randomized, controlled, multi-centric, open-label phase-2 study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Itolizumab in moderate to severe ARDS patients due to COVID-19

Suresh Kumar, Rosemarie De Souza, Milind Nadkar, Randeep Guleria, Anjan Trikha, Shashank R. Joshi, Subramanian Loganathan, Sivakumar Vaidyanathan, Ashwani Marwah, Sandeep N. Athalye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: Efficacy and safety of Itolizumab, an immunomodulatory mAb, in treating moderate-to-severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to cytokine release in COVID-19 patients was evaluated in a multi-centric, open-label, two-arm, controlled, randomized, phase-2 study. Methods: Patients were randomized (2:1) to Arm-A (best supportive care [BSC]+Itolizumab) and Arm-B (BSC). Primary outcome of interest was reduction in mortality 30-days after enrollment. Results: Thirty-six patients were screened, five treated as first-dose-sentinels and rest randomized, while four patients were screen-failures. Two patients in Arm-A discontinued prior to receiving one complete infusion and were replaced. At end of 1-month, there were three deaths in Arm-B, and none in Arm-A (p = 0.0296; 95% CI = −0.3 [−0.61, −0.08]). At end of study, more patients in Arm-A had improved SpO2 without increasing FiO2 (p = 0.0296), improved PaO2 (p = 0.0296), and reduction in IL-6 (43 vs 212 pg/ml; p = 0.0296) and tumor necrotic factor-α (9 vs 39 pg/ml; p = 0.0253) levels. Transient lymphopenia (Arm-A: 11 patients) and infusion reactions (7 patients) were commonly reported treatment-related safety events. Conclusion: Itolizumab is a promising, safe and effective immunomodulatory therapy for treatment of ARDS due to cytokine release in COVID-19 patients, with survival and recovery-benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-686
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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