Clinical outcomes of immunomodulatory therapies in the management of COVID-19: A tertiary-care experience from Pakistan

Noreen Nasir, Salma Tajuddin, Sarah Khaskheli, Naveera Khan, Hammad Niamatullah, Nosheen Nasir

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The pharmacological management of COVID-19 has evolved significantly and various immunomodulatory agents have been repurposed. However, the clinical efficacy has been variable and a search for cure for COVID-19 continues. A retrospective cohort study was conducted on 916 patients hospitalized with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 between February 2020 and October 2020 at a tertiary care academic medical center in Karachi, Pakistan. The median age was 57 years (interquartile range (IQR) 46-66 years). The most common medications administered were Methylprednisolone (65.83%), Azithromycin (50.66%), and Dexamethasone (46.6%). Majority of the patients (70%) had at least two or more medications used in combination and the most frequent combination was methylprednisolone with azithromycin. Overall in-hospital mortality was 13.65% of patients. Mortality was found to be independently associated with age greater than or equal to 60 years (OR = 4.98; 95%CI: 2.78-8.91), critical illness on admission (OR = 13.75; 95%CI: 7.27-25.99), use of hydrocortisone (OR = 12.56; 95%CI: 6.93-22.7), Ferritin> = 1500(OR = 2.07; 95%CI: 1.18-3.62), Creatinine(OR = 2.33; 95%CI: 1.31-4.14) and D-Dimer> = 1.5 (OR = 2.27; 95%CI: 1.26-4.07). None of the medications whether used as monotherapy or in combination were found to have a mortality benefit. Our study highlights the desperate need for an effective drug for the management of critical COVID-19 which necessitates usage of multiple drug combinations in patients particularly Azithromycin which has long term implications for antibiotic resistance particularly in low-middle income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0262608
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1 January
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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