Today we’re looking at an experimental drug being used to treat Covid-19 symptoms, Kevzara – an arthritis drug that was seen as a promising treatment.
Kevzara was not expected to block the coronavirus directly but it was hoped that it would help the immune system with people with symptoms of the virus. It was theorized that the drug may be able to help with the inflammation and fluid buildup around the lungs of sicker patients, potentially preventing them from needing a ventilator.
However, this was not the case in recent testing for patients with “severe” cases, meaning they needed oxygen. The results of the testing were not what they had hoped and the study was decided to have no chance at succeeding.
The trial was designed to run in two separate stages. The first stage would be doctors trying to identify which components of the disease were important. After that a larger study in which they would try to confirm the results in order to achieve approval for further testing and hopefully then approval as a treatment. Both stages involved patients randomly assigned either a placebo, a 200mg dose of Kevzara, or a 400 mg dose of the drug.
According to the results of the study there had been no apparent benefit for the patients with severe and critical symptoms of the virus when taking the drug. The drug was not harming the patients, but there were no signs that the drug would help any of the patients in the study. The study was done in the first place because of a similar, smaller test, done in China. The results were similar; however, the Chinese test lacked a control group that received a placebo or standard treatment.
The patients still did better than the researchers expected they would, with 80% of severe patients being discharged from the hospital. The critical group had positive results but still not what was hoped. ” In the placebo group, 55% of 77 patients died or were on a ventilator; this compared to 46% of the 94 who received 200 mg. of Kevzara, and 32% of the 88 who received 400 mg. of Kevzara. Similarly, 41% of the placebo patients were discharged from the hospital, compared to 39% in the 200-mg. group and 53% in the 400-mg. group.
This is a good example for us to look at when it comes to creating hypotheses and trying so hard to come up with results. Leaders of the test said that this shows how hard it is to come up with something that sticks. It shows that many times when people think they are seeing things in situations like this, seeing possible treatments or cures, really what we are doing is just trying whatever we can. This study definitely has a lesson for other drugs being tested against Covid-19.
As always be sure to check back at our blog here for more up to date information and news about experimental drugs related to the coronavirus.