The anticipated and hyped clinical trial held on testing the arthritis drug in the treatment of COVID-19 has recently reported that the medicine does not target the virus and has shown no improvements in the condition of patients with the coronavirus infection.
The drug, known by the name of Kevzara, is manufactured by Sanofi and Regeneron. While testing it on patients with symptoms of the coronavirus infection, the researchers found that using it may actually cause adverse effects.
More specifically, it was noted that while the drug does not affect the functioning of the coronavirus, it instead inhibits an immune response called “cytokine storm”. The cytokine storm is an abnormal reaction that causes life-threatening inflammation in the lungs and the person may need a ventilator for a very long time to survive the situation.
Previously, a small-scale study from China has shown hope for the drug’s benefits for COVID-19 patients. However, in the comparatively larger US-based trial consisting of two hundred and seventy-six participants did not have similar findings.
The recruited participants were on severe stages of the coronavirus infection. The use of Kevzara was expected to improve the condition of the lungs in these patients and ultimately help them survive without a ventilator in the future.
So far, the only positive impact of taking the drug was noted in the group of critical patients instead of those with a severe coronavirus infection. These patients already required high-flow oxygenation or a ventilator to breathe and survive.
In people with a critical condition, around forty-four participants took a placebo, ninety-four had a low dose of Kevzara and, eighty-eight took a high dose of the drug.
Thirty-two percent of the participants on high dose died by the end of the clinical trial. Comparatively, the deaths were significantly higher in other groups with fifty-five percent of participants dying in the group taking placebo, and forty-six percent of participants dying in the low dose group.
Now, the team of researchers has also announced that the trial will continue but only with the critical group of participants.
The president and co-founder of Regeneron, George Yancopoulos, says “We await results of the ongoing Phase 3 trial to learn more about COVID-19, and better understand whether some patients may benefit from Kevzara treatment,”
In addition to testing Kevzara for its potential benefits in the treatment of COVID-19, Regeneron is also currently developing an ‘antibody cocktail’ that may help in targeting the coronavirus.
The antibodies in the cocktail are to be obtained through infecting lab mice with genetically modified immune systems that match that of humans. A trial testing the cocktail with humans is expected to start in the coming month of June.
There are also high hopes regarding this trial as Regeneron has developed similar antibodies prior to the recent ones for Ebola that had proven beneficial and extremely effective.
Till the results from Phase 3 of Kevazara clinical trial with critical patients are reported, the team of researchers does not recommend the use and prescription of the drug in controlling the COVID-19.
Moreover, the drug should only be prescribed and used under the supervision of a health professional or a doctor for related health conditions only. Self-medication is not recommended and may even cause unwanted effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strictly warns against the use of any medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 and there is no reported scientific evidence to corroborate their benefits yet.
In case any symptoms of the coronavirus infection appear, visit and report to a health facility or a hospital immediately to prevent further spread and do not self-medicate at home.