PARIS (Reuters) – An inflammation-fighting drug made by Swiss Roche limits the need for transfer to intensive care units for patients with moderate to severe pneumonia linked to COVID-19, the group said on Wednesday Parisian hospital AP-HP.
Actemra by Roche, also known as RoActemra, is an inflammation-fighting rheumatoid arthritis drug that the company has redirected to patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Wednesday’s findings, from a trial launched earlier this year, echo data from another Phase III trial in several countries, including the United States, in which patients receiving Actemra were less likely to need ventilators or die than those who received a placebo.
Some 130 patients with a median age of 64 years were included in the trial with 67 on the standard of care alone and 63 on the standard of care associated with the drug, the generic name of which is tocilizumab.
“The percentage of patients discharged from the hospital on the 28th day was higher in the tocilizumab group than in the standard treatment group: 83% versus 73%,” said AP-HP.
Roche’s drug has seen an increase in sales this year as more doctors use it to fight inflammation triggered by COVID-19, although another earlier study of the drug has shown it. did not help patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
The final results of the French trial were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine (here).