BREAKING: Tocilizumab (Actemra) shown to be more effective than hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus patients, Italian doctors say
For the past two weeks now, we’ve been talking about hydroxychloroquine as the wonder drug in the fight against the deadly coronavirus. Two anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients after controlled clinical study conducted by doctors in France shows that a combo of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (Z-Pak) cures 100% of coronavirus patients within 6 days of treatment.
However, according to doctors treating coronovirus patients in Italy, Tolicizumab, a drug used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to be more effective than hydroxychloroquine. Tocilizumab is so effective that the FDA gives green lights to Phase III Tocilizumab Trial for COVID-19 pneumonia. In a related report, Italian doctors said that a 101-year-old Italian man who survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and World War II, recovered from COVID-19.
In another report, scientists claim Tocilizumab has been shown to help cure 95 percent of critically ill coronavirus patients in China. Tocilizumab, which is marketed as Actemra, is taken by patients with rheumatoid arthritis to reduce inflammation. Chinese doctors gave it to 20 patients during the peak of of coronavirus epidemic. Nineteen of the patients were discharged within 14 days despite being critically ill. Actemra has now been approved for use in China and for trials in the US
In response to a question from another doctor on hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Giusppe Galati, an Italian doctor, said in a tweet: “Dear @DrLuizSilva1 despite the large noise on social media. Here in Flag of Italy they are trying several combinations of antiviral included the combination HCQ + azithro. Infectivologist refer little benefit. The unique drug which is causing impressive improvement is #Tolicizumab.”
Tocilizumab, also known as atlizumab, is an immunosuppressive drug, mainly for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a severe form of arthritis in children. It is a humanized monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R).
Dear Giuseppe @GiuseppeGalati_ Are the patientes being treated with HCQ an Azithronycin in Italy ? What are the results? Do you start these medicarions as soon as the symptoms begin or late in the courso of disease ?
— Dr. Luiz Silva (@DrLuizSilva1) March 20, 2020
The FDA approved the double-blind, randomized phase III clinical trial of the oncology supportive care drug tocilizumab (Actemra) for use in combination with standard of care for the treatment of hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia, according to Genentech (Roche), the manufacturer of the interleukin-6 receptor antagonist.
Genentech is also working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a part of the US Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), to evaluate tocilizumab combined with standard of care versus placebo plus standard of care. In a press release, Genentech said it is providing 10,000 vials of tocilizumab to the United States Strategic national stockpile for potential future use as determined by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“We thank the FDA for rapidly expediting the approval of this clinical trial to evaluate Actemra in critically ill patients suffering from pneumonia following coronavirus infection and we’re moving forward to enroll as quickly as possible,” Alexander Hardy, chief executive officer of Genentech, said in the press release.
“Conducting this clinical trial in partnership with BARDA and providing Actemra to support the national stockpile, through the efforts of Secretary Azar and HHS, are important examples of how the US government the biotechnology industry and healthcare communities are working together in response to this public health crisis,” added Hardy.