Roche rheumatism drug does not reduce Covid-19 deaths

Trials showed that Actemra did not sufficiently improve the recovery of patients with Covid-19. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche says a drug normally used to treat other medical conditions has failed to prove its effectiveness at alleviating the symptoms of Covid-19.

This content was published on March 11, 2021 - 10:08

Phase III clinical trials on Actemra/RoActemra, in combination with Veklury, did not meet the primary goal of helping coronavirus patients recover faster and shorten their hospital stay.

There was also insufficient evidence that the drug cocktail improved mortality rates or reduced the number of patients who required ventilator or oxygen support.

“Actemra/RoActemra is not approved for the treatment of Covid-19 pneumonia,” Roche announced on Thursday. The trials did not indicate any negative side-effects, the company added.

It was hoped that the drug, which has been approved for use against rheumatoid arthritis, could control Covid-19 symptoms in patients when combined with Veklury, which is produced by US biotech firm Gilead.

But Roche added that Actemra might still play some role in the treatment of Covid-19. It said that the trial data “suggests a potential role for Actemra in treating certain patients with Covid-19 and will discuss the results with health authorities.”

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