In the rush to treat the hundreds of thousands of people sick with the Covid-19 coronavirus, many — including President Trump — have touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. This has led to shortages of the drug across the country. That’s adding to the pressure to deploy a drug like hydroxychloroquine during the pandemic. Yet without robust clinical trials to verify its potential, the treatment could do more harm than the disease itself. Researchers also don’t know whether hydroxychloroquine is good at fighting against Covid-19. Most patients infected with the disease recover with no treatment. So, scientists need to distinguish whether the drug is helping patients recover faster or if they are getting better on their own, making sure that what they’re seeing isn’t due to chance.
US Trial of Avigan Japanese Flu Drug for Coronavirus Gets Green light
The US Food and Drug Administration has given the green light for the country’s first clinical trial of a Japanese flu drug Avigan that could be used to treat the coronavirus, according to a report. Three Massachusetts hospitals were granted approval Tuesday to launch small trials of the antiviral drug favipiravir, a doctor involved in the efforts told the Boston Globe. A Chinese research team is currently testing Avigan in combination with Roche’s arthritis med Actemra. The IL-6 inhibitor was recently added to China’s treatment guidelines to help control potentially life-threatening immune overreaction called cytokines storm in serious COVID-19 patients.
Roche Testing Actemra for Coronavirus Patients with Help From the US Government
With $25 million in backing from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Swiss drugmaker will speed up Actemra’s phase 3 trial in COVID-19 patients, the agency said Tuesday.Earlier in the month, Sanofi and Regeneron had announced the U.S. arm of the program, saying the stateside trial would test Kevzara as an add-on to supportive care in around 400 patients across 16 states.Novartis and Incyte said earlier this week they would initiate a phase 3 clinical trial for Jakafi––marketed as Jakavi abroad––to treat cytokine storm, an immune overreaction that causes respiratory complications in severe COVID-19 patients. The blinded, double-arm study will evaluate a combination of Jakafi alongside standard-of-care therapy to treat COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, the partners said