Just as the wind blew the name of a deadly virus called corona virus (COVID-19) to all ears in the world, so has it with a drug named Actemra, getting some approvals as a cure for COVID-19.
Genentech has secured approval in the US to go ahead with the COVACTA trial to assess the use of its rheumatoid arthritis drug (RA drug) Actemra (tocilizumab) in covid-19 patients.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Roche, will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra given intravenously plus standard of care in hospitalized adults with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. The combination will be pitted against placebo plus standard of care in what will be a phase 3 trial.
Many seem to be so doubtful of the fact that a drug could cure COVID-19 patients, due to the time frame on which it was discovered. Also, many more cannot think less, as the corona virus has posed as a worldwide threat and a more reason for a rapid move to discover its cure.
Roche has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has formally approved its phase 3 trial of Actemra in severely ill COVID-19 patients, who have been hospitalized with pneumonia.
It was first cleared by the FDA as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and has also subsequently been approved in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, giant cell arthritis and CRS associated with CAR-T cell therapies for cancer.
China’s use of Roche’s Actemra for some COVID-19 patients has put the arthritis drug in the spotlight and set it up for a surge in demand. Roche is trying to stay ahead of that curve by upping production, even as it tests it on COVID-19 for greater effectiveness.
The Swiss drug makers said that it is working urgently to accelerate manufacturing capacity to maximize production of Actemra, when and where it can to boost its global supply.
It pointed out, however, that supply is managed on a country level and within parameters set by governments, so it is working closely with those regulators.
Roche started getting inquires about Actemra from governments around the world after China’s National Health Commission added Actemra to its updated COVID-19 treatment guidelines in early march.
Despite some of the supply and logistics challenges due to COVID-19, Roche has been able to continue to deliver life-saving medicines to patients around the world, thanks to the resilience of its global network.