Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa); Pathology (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Introduction: From the first case of SARS-Co-2 in Wuhan, China, to the virus being declared as a pandemic in March 2020, the world has witnessed morbidity and mortality on a global scale. Scientists have worked at a record pace to deliver a vaccine for the prevention of this deadly disease. Tocilizumab, an interleukin-6 (IL-6) blocker, received an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) in June 2021.
Methods: This retrospective observational cohort study was conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, from March 8, 2020, to December 31, 2020. All patients with PCR confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia were included. Data were obtained from the medical records, and the admission registry was used to identify the patients, and both their electronic and paper-based files were retrieved from the medical records. Patient demographic data, medical history, baseline comorbidities, clinical characteristics, and outcome data were collected to study the infectious complications of Tocilizumab in patients affected by COVID-19 pneumonia.
Results: A total of 913 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were included. The overall superinfection infection rate among the COVID-19 patients was 6%. Superinfection in patients who received the Tocilizumab was 17.2% and in the non-Tocilizumab group was 4.8%. The superinfection rate among severe and critically ill patients was even higher at 41.8% and 69.9% (Tocilizumab group) and 2.1% and 11.8% (non-Tocilizumab group), respectively (p < 0.001). There was no difference in mortality observed between the groups (p = 0.846). Infection among HIV co-infection was very low at 2.3%.
Conclusion: Contrary to some studies, a higher rate of infection was observed among the Tocilizumab group, and no difference in mortality was observed between Tocilizumab and the non-Tocilizumab group. Infection among patients with HIV remains low in this susceptible population.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of General Medicine

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License