By Mary Kekatos Senior Health Reporter For Dailymail.com
Published: 16:00 BST, 30 April 2020 | Updated: 05:46 BST, 1 May 2020
A rheumatoid arthritis drug may help treat severely ill coronavirus patients, early results of a new study find.
Tocilizumab, sold under the brand names RoAcemtra and Actemra, typically sells for about $870 a dose.
Patients given injections of the drug were less likely to be put on life support and less likely to die than those given a placebo.
With no approved treatments specifically for the virus, there is a pressing need to test both existing medicines and experimental therapies to stop the disease - that has killed more than 61,000 Americans - in its tracks.
Half of 129 severely ill coronavirus patients were given two injections of tocilizumab (pictured), a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Those given the shots were less likely to be put on life support and less likely to die than those given a placebo. Pictured: A doctor examines a patient being monitored for coronavirus at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, April 22
Researchers believe the drug mitigates cytokine storms, which occur when the body doesn't just fight off the virus but also attacks its own cells and tissues. Pictured: US Army service members transport a patient to the ICU at the Javits New York Medical Station,