An anti-CD6 antibody for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with cytokine-release syndrome: report of three cases
In COVID-19, the inflammatory cytokine-release syndrome is associated with the progression of the disease. Itolizumab is a monoclonal antibody that recognizes human CD6 expressed in activated T cells. The antibody has shown to be safe and efficacious in the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. Its effect is associated with the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines release, including IFN-Î³, IL-6 and TNF-α. Here, we report the outcome of three severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with itolizumab as part of an expanded access protocol. Itolizumab was able to reduce IL-6 concentrations in all the patients. Two of the three patients showed respiratory and radiological improvement and were fully recovered. We hypothesize this anti-inflammatory therapy in addition to antiviral and anticoagulant therapy could reduce COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality.