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April 28, 2020

Covid-19: Healthcare daily update – established drugs join expanding trials list – serology tests needed to ease lockdowns

By Paul Dennis

28 April

Roche’s Actemra sales jump amid testing in Covid-19 patients
While many drugs have not seen success in treating Covid-19 patients, testing of Roche’s Actemra (tocilizumab) raises hopes that targeting interleukin 6 (IL-6) can effectively treat severe Covid-19 patients experiencing respiratory failure.

ARDS treatments are important for severe Covid-19
Pharmaceutical companies continue their work on finding treatments to lessen the symptoms of the disease and improve the survival of the most severely affected patients. Several drugs are under investigation for their ability to reduce acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a cause of death in Covid-19 patients.

With the initiation of the olumiant clinical trial, Eli Lilly joins the Covid-19 fight
Eli Lilly is one of the latest pharma developers to join the fight in treating Covid-19. In April Lilly announced that it was entering into an agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study Olumiant (baricitinib) as an arm in NIAID’s Adaptive Covid-19 Treatment Trial (NCT04280705). Olumiant is a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor currently approved for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Once added to the trial, Lilly’s Olumiant will join Gilead’s remdesivir in treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Covid-19 serology tests will tell us when lockdown can end
Covid-19 serology tests are the next critical phase of Covid-19 testing as they will be a powerful tool in determining a country’s immunity to the disease, which will allow governments to determine when social isolation could lessen and businesses re-open. As the global Covid-19 pandemic has progressed, testing has been of the utmost importance to determine how widespread the disease is, and hence how severe social distancing should be and if lockdown is required in order to “flatten the curve.”

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