A potential coronavirus treatment just suffered an early setback, and researchers are now focusing their efforts on the sickest COVID-19 patients
- Researchers are narrowing the focus of an ongoing trial of a potential
coronavirus treatmentafter reviewing preliminary results.
- Going forward, the study will enroll only some of the sickest COVID-19 patients: those on ventilators, high-flow oxygen therapy, or in the ICU.
- The trial is testing an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug called Kevzara, developed and sold by the New York biotech
Regeneronand French pharma Sanofi.
- Researchers think the treatment may work in COVID-19 by alleviating symptoms of the disease, rather than directly fighting the virus. Critically ill patients often have an overactive immune response, which this medicine could help calm down.
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The early look at study data led researchers to change the study to exclusively focus on critically ill coronavirus patients. The drugmakers Regeneron and Sanofi are testing Kevzara, an arthritis drug, against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.The companies said Monday they they'll stop enrolling patients with "severe" illness and only focus on "critical" patients. More data is expected from that group of patients by June.Advertisement
Critical patients are either on ventilators, high-flow oxygen therapy, or in the ICU. Severe patients require oxygen supplementation but don't require mechanical ventilation or high-flow oxygen.
The first part of this study was testing low and high doses of Kevzara. Only the high dose will be used going forward.Read more: We just got more promising data on Gilead's potential coronavirus drug. Here's everything we know about remdesivir and 14 other leading coronavirus treatments.
These are some of the first high-quality study results in COVID-19. Kevzara is being tested in a trial designed to rigorously look for a benefit: Patients are randomly assigned to either the drug or a placebo.In March, an antiviral drug used to treat HIV failed to show a benefit in fighting the coronavirus in a trial that compared it to a placebo. The Kevzara results show the need for "controlled data in adequately-sized trials," George Yancopoulos, Regeneron's chief scientific officer, said in a statement.Advertisement
The companies noted that the severe group of patients fared much better than expected, regardless of whether they were receiving Kevzara or a placebo. They noted that 80% of severe patients were discharged, 10% died and 10% are still hospitalized.Advertisement
Researchers are also testing a similar treatment from Swiss drugmaker Roche, called Actemra. Both drugs have the same target, called the IL-6 cytokine. Roche's study began enrolling patients earlier this month, with results expected in early summer.Read the original article on Business Insider