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2021 update of the EULAR points to consider on the use of immunomodulatory therapies in COVID-19


Objectives To update the EULAR points to consider (PtCs) on the use of immunomodulatory therapies in COVID-19.

Methods According to the EULAR standardised operating procedures, a systematic literature review up to 14 July 2021 was conducted and followed by a consensus meeting of an international multidisciplinary task force. The new statements were consolidated by formal voting.

Results We updated 2 overarching principles and 12 PtC. Evidence was only available in moderate to severe and critical patients. Glucocorticoids alone or in combination with tocilizumab are beneficial in COVID-19 cases requiring oxygen therapy and in critical COVID-19. Use of Janus kinase inhibitors (baricitinib and tofacitinib) is promising in the same populations of severe and critical COVID-19. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma may find application in early phases of the disease and in selected subgroups of immunosuppressed patients. There was insufficient robust evidence for the efficacy of other immunomodulators with further work being needed in relation to biomarker-based stratification for IL-1 therapy

Conclusions Growing evidence supports incremental efficacy of glucocorticoids alone or combined with tocilizumab/Janus kinase inhibitors in moderate to severe and critical COVID-19. Ongoing studies may unmask the potential application of other therapeutic approaches. Involvement of rheumatologists, as systemic inflammatory diseases experts, should be encouraged in clinical trials of immunomodulatory therapy in COVID-19.

  • Covid-19
  • biological therapy
  • glucocorticoids

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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