Pharma giants Sanofi and Regeneron are now testing out an arthritis drug to treat the coronavirus, starting in New York
Drugmakers are testing a drug that's currently used to treat arthritis against the novel coronavirus. Pharma companies Sanofi and Regeneron said Monday that they started a trial, and are looking to enroll 400 patients in New York. They eventually plans to test the drug, called Kevzara, across the globe. There are no approved treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus. Many pharma and biotech companies have started research programs in the last few weeks as the outbreak has worsened into an official pandemic. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A new coronavirus clinical trial is now seeking patients in the US, starting in New York. The French pharma giant Sanofi and New York biotech company Regeneron said Monday they have kicked off a global testing program for Kevzara as a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, there are no approved treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus. Kevzara was approved in the US in 2017 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The drug works by inhibiting a biological mechanism that may drive the overactive inflammatory response to COVID-19 patients' lungs, the companies said. Regeneron will lead trials in the US, while Sanofi will lead plans for studies in other countries. They are testing Kevzara only in COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized and have serious complications from the infection. Patients will need to have a COVID-19 case classified as severe or critical, or be suffering from multi-organ dysfunction. All patients must have pneumonia and fever in order to enroll. This first US study will start at New York medical centers. It will test a combination of Kevzara and usual supportive care against a placebo-controlled arm. Study participants will be randomly assigned to one of three options: a low dose of Kevzara, a high dose of Kevzara, or the placebo. Read more: The US is sprinting to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment. Here's how 10 top drugmakers are racing to tackle the pandemic. The trial will be split into two parts. The first portion will evaluate Kevzara's impact on fever and patients' need for supplement oxygen, according to the companies. The second part will test longer-term outcomes, such as preventing death and reducing the need for mechanical ventilation. After the first portion is finished, the companies can tinker with some of the study specifics based on the early findings, such as changing an endpoint or the dosing strength. Both drugmakers have other ongoing COVID-19 research projects. Sanofi is expecting to start a clinical trial in early 2020 for a vaccine it is developing, while Regeneron is aiming to start testing an experimental antibody treatment later this summer.
Read more: The US is sprinting to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment. Here's how 10 top drugmakers are racing to tackle the pandemic. There are at least 35 potential coronavirus vaccines in the works, aiming to halt the pandemic. Here are the top efforts to watch and what to expect in 2020 and beyond. 'We've never moved at this speed before:' $120 billion pharma giant Eli Lilly just teamed up with a biotech startup to fight the coronavirus pandemic The 'most promising' coronavirus treatment faces its biggest test yet. Clinical data for Gilead's drug remdesivir is coming in a matter of weeks. Join the conversation about this story »
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