Critically ill emergency room doctor recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19) after using experimental treatment rheumatoid arthritis drug Tocilizumab (Actemra)
Last month, we told you about Tolicizumab, a drug that has received far less headline attention than hydroxychloroquine. Tocilizumab, which is marketed as Actemra, is taken by patients with rheumatoid arthritis to reduce inflammation. Despite the large noise on social media about hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Giusppe Galati, an Italian doctor, said, Tolicizumab has shown to be more effective than hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus patients.
Now, an hospital in Seattle is saying sharing similar success story. Evergreen Hospital emergency room doctor who was placed on life support after contracting COVID -19 has been released from the hospital and is now recovering after he was treated Actemra.
According to the report, Dr. Ryan Padgett, who was one of the first frontline physicians in the county to fall critically ill from the coronavirus, first treated at Evergreen Hospital and later moved to Swedish where doctors tried an experimental drug called Actemra. Swedish Hospital said they believe the experimental drug helped Padgett recover.
“It would be fair to say we have treated patients with this medicine who have gotten quite ill and gotten better,” said Dr. Krish Patel who is the director of the lymphoma program at Swedish Cancer Institute First Hill.
Swedish Hospital says they have treated 40 COVID patients over the last two weeks with Actemra after a small Chinese study showed 21 COVID patients with high levels of inflammation had been successfully treated with the drug. “I think it’s still early to tell what role this medicine may have, but we’ve developed quite a bit of experience with it to this point already at Swedish,” said Patel.
In a related 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.