A small study in 19 people suggested a drug from
Many patients with Covid-19 suffer from an inflammatory condition, sometimes called cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts to the virus. Astra’s drug, Calquence, belongs to a class known as BTK inhibitors that target a protein that affects inflammation, and may help quell the complication.
Nine of 11 hospitalized patients who initially needed oxygen were able to leave the hospital after getting Calquence, which is approved to treat lymphoma. Of the remaining two patients one is still hospitalized, while the other died.
Among eight patients who needed mechanical ventilation, four were taken off breathing apparatuses by the end of their treatment and no longer required additional oxygen, while the other four died. The drug will need to be tested in a larger study and compared against a placebo to confirm its value. AstraZeneca has started two mid-stage studies of the medicine in hospitalized patients experiencing cytokine storm.
Treatment ranged from 10 to 14 days, and oxygen levels in most patients’ blood improved within the first three days, according to the study published in Science Immunology. AstraZeneca partnered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health for the trial.
Astra has become a key player in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, working with the University of Oxford to develop a vaccine considered a front-runner in the race to produce a shot. The British drugmaker said Thursday it now has capacity to make about
While vaccine makers are racing to come up with an immunization, and Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir has emergency use authorization for hospitalized patients, more therapies are needed to treat some of the symptoms of the virus. Having a large number of available medicines will be key as economies open back up and international travel resumes.
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