Arthritis Drug Helps Reduce Covid-19 Deaths

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Arthritis Drug Roche Holding AG’s Actemra has been proven in a recent study to shorten recovery times in intensive care for Covid-19 patients.  In the study, 27% of critically ill patients that received the drug died in the hospital, compared to 36% who did not get them.  Patients who received the drug were also able to be released from the hospital earlier.

Anthony Gordon, chair in anesthesia and critical care at Imperial said the findings could have “immediate implications for the sickest patients with Covid-19.”  The UK Government is believed to encourage the use of the drug immediately. Up until this point previous studies had not been able to come to the same conclusion. Gordon said, “A crucial difference may be that in our study, critically ill patients were enrolled within 24 hours of starting organ support.”

Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said the results “injected that bit of optimism we all need.”  Landray is leading another large study which has helped determine the benefit of using Dexamethasone and is now looking into Actemra.  In previous studies, Actemra had reduced the need for patients to be ventilated and appeared to help them leave hospitals earlier.

What is yet to be determined is how drug works in different types of patients as there is not enough data yet.

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