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Clinical trial studying tocilizumab, a treatment for COVID-19 related pneumonia

May 07, 2020

COVID-19 related pneumonia

COVID-19 related pneumonia is one of the most serious complications from COVID-19 and can result in patients needing supplemental oxygen, usually from a ventilator.

There is no known treatment for COVID-19 related pneumonia. Treatment of COVID-19 related pneumonia may result in improved outcomes and shorter hospital stays.

A trial to evaluate effectiveness of tocilizumab in treating COVID-19 pneumonia patients

The trial began at Baystate Health on April 6, 2020 and is recruiting participants through the end of April/beginning of May 2020.

In mid-March 2020, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, began conducting a clinical trial approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to study a drug called “tocilizumab” and discover whether it may benefit adult patients with COVID-19-induced pneumonia.

The purpose of the Tocilizumab trial

Contact Information

To see if you are eligible to participate in this study, contact Lori Kozikowski at 413-794-5584 or email.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the medication tocilizumab for adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Study participants will be given an infusion of either tocilizumab or a placebo infusion in addition to their standard medicine that is routinely provided for standard COVID-19 care. The patients will be monitored for symptoms through laboratory findings and X-rays to determine whether the study drug helps improve their condition. 

The researcher leading this study

The Primary investigator (PI) of this study is Daniel J. Skiest, MD. Dr. Skiest has an extensive background in infectious diseases and their causes. Primary investigators, along with research assistants, doctors, and nurses, ensure that the trial runs smoothly.

Eligibility to participate in this study

To be considered for this study, you must meet certain criteria, including:

  • You must be hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia, which is diagnosed by chest X-ray or CT scan.
  • You must have a positive test for COVID-19.
  • You must be 18 years or older.

For a full list of eligibility criteria, please visit the trial on

To join this study, you will need to commit to participating for approximately 60 days, beginning on the first day of treatment with the study drug.

Recruiting patients for this study

Patients who meet the eligibility criteria for this study are approached in the hospital and asked if they would be interested in participating in this study.

With any clinical trial conducted at Baystate Health or other healthcare centers, patients must review the study documents given to them before the trial and then must provide written consent that they agree to participate in this trial.

Ensuring the safety and confidentiality of patients

The safety and confidentiality of our patients is our top priority. As with all research involving the use of human subjects, this study was reviewed and approved by the Baystate Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Baystate IRB and Human Research Protection program (HRPP) ensure that patient confidentiality and safety are maintained throughout the study.

Baystate achieved full accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP) in 2010.

Interested in participating in this trial?

To view the tocilizumab trial and other active COVID-19 trials, visit the COVID-19 page of Baystate Health’s clinical trials listings.

If you have any additional questions about the tocilizumab study, please contact Lori Kozikowski at 413-794-5584 or send her an email.