05.07.2020
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Roche's Acetmra arthritis drug falls short in coronavirus trial

Roche’s Acetmra arthritis drug falls short in coronavirus trial

Roche’s Actemra drug, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, fell short in helping patients with early-stage COVID-19 pneumonia in an Italian study.

The Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) authorized the study, which enrolled 126 patients. The drug showed no benefit in terms of entry into intensive care or in terms of survival, Aifa wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

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Aifa said it was the first randomized study on the drug internationally for COVID-19.

“In this population of patients in a less advanced stage of disease, the study can be considered important and conclusive, while in more serious patients the results of other studies still underway are expected,” Aifa wrote.

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The Italian Acetemra study involved collaboration from 24 medical centers.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the pharmaceutical company completed enrollment of its own Actemra study in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. A Roche spokesman reportedly said the study will “provide robust evidence about the benefit/risk profile,” with data to come in several months.

The experimental drug did help one 34-year-old coronavirus patient after numerous therapies, including antimalarials and antibiotics, failed. Michael Goldberg, a father of two, received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis on March 15 and five days later, doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey intubated and ventilated the IT consultant.

Goldberg started treatment on Actemra and left the hospital’s ICU on April 12. His wife, Elana, wrote in an April 16 Facebook post that her husband was «slowly moving in the right direction.»

Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this report.

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