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March 5, 2020updated 21 Oct 2021 11:45am

Roche wins approval for Actemra for coronavirus complications

Swiss healthcare company Roche has secured approval from China for its anti-inflammation drug Actemra (tocilizumab) to treat patients developing severe complications from coronavirus (Covid-19).

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Swiss healthcare company Roche has secured approval from China for its anti-inflammation drug Actemra (tocilizumab) to treat patients developing severe complications from coronavirus (Covid-19).

The latest move comes as China’s National Health Commission is searching for new ways to combat the deadly virus, which is spreading to other countries, including the US, Italy, Switzerland, France, and Germany.

In its latest treatment guidelines published online, the commission said that the biologic drug Actemra can now be used to treat coronavirus patients with severe lung damage and high IL-6 levels.

In 2010, Actemra secured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The drug is capable of inhibiting high Interleukin 6 (IL-6) protein levels that drive some inflammatory diseases.

Researchers in China are also testing the drug in a clinical trial, expected to enrol a total of 188 patients with Covid-19 and run through 10 May.

Roche was quoted by Reuters as saying that a third party has initiated the trial independently to explore the efficacy and safety of the drug in coronavirus patients with cytokine release syndrome (CRS).

The company is yet to receive approval from China’s National Medical Product Administration to sell Actemra for use in coronavirus infection cases.

Other drug manufacturers in the country are also in the race to develop alternatives to Roche’s treatment.

At present, no published clinical trial data is available on the safety or efficacy of Actemra against the Wuhan virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 people as of the end of 4 March.

The total confirmed cases have increased to 95,000, with 80,270 cases reported in Mainland China.

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Navigate your business through the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
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