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Biological sex is associated with heterogeneous responses to IL-6 receptor inhibitor treatment in COVID-19—A retrospective cohort study

Stein, DF; Foley, C; Byott, M; Nastouli, E; Ambler, G; Arulkumaran, N; (2023) Biological sex is associated with heterogeneous responses to IL-6 receptor inhibitor treatment in COVID-19—A retrospective cohort study. Scientific Reports , 13 (1) , Article 13504. 10.1038/s41598-023-40744-y. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

COVID-19 is associated with higher inflammatory markers, illness severity and mortality in males compared to females. Differences in immune responses to COVID-19 may underpin sex- specific outcome differences. We hypothesised that anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibodies are associated with heterogenous treatment effects between male and female patients. We conducted a retrospective cohort study assessing the interaction between biological sex and anti-IL-6 receptor antibody treatment with respect to hospital mortality or progression of respiratory failure. We used a Cox proportional hazards regression model to adjust for age, ethnicity, steroid use, baseline C-reactive protein, and COVID-19 variant. We included 1274 patients, of which 58% were male and 15% received anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies. There was a significant interaction between sex and anti-IL-6 receptor antibody use on progression to respiratory failure or death (p = 0.05). For patients who did not receive anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies, the risk of death was slightly higher in males (HR = 1.13 (0.72–1.79)), whereas in patients who did receive anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies, the risk was lower in males (HR = 0.65 (0.32–1.33)). There was a heterogenous treatment effect with anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies between males and females; with anti-IL-6 receptor antibody use having a greater benefit in preventing progression to respiratory failure or death in males (p = 0.05).

Type: Article
Title: Biological sex is associated with heterogeneous responses to IL-6 receptor inhibitor treatment in COVID-19—A retrospective cohort study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-40744-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-40744-y
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Humans, Female, Male, COVID-19, Retrospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Receptors, Interleukin-6
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176052
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