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China approves Roche Actemra for severe COVID-19

China National Health Commission release guideline to treat COVID-19 that included a drug called Actemra developed and sold by Roche(SWX.RO). This drug has been in existence since a decade now and is approved in 116 countries used for treatment of arthritis.

In various autopsies done by the authorities it is discovered that the virus impacts the lungs and leads to inflammation of the organ. The drug mentioned is used to treat the inflammation of lungs due to high level of protein Interleukin 6. And the drug is being only given to coronavirus patients that are in severe condition.

Though there are no clinical test result that approve of the same but China researchers have recently registered a 3 month clinical trial with Actemra that will run from Feb 10th to May 10th with recruitment of 188 coronavirus patients.

The researches have also approved and started to large state sponsored clinical trial of another drug called Remdesivir developed by Gilead Sciences (GILD) from Feb 26th. This will include around 1000 coronavirus infected patients.

In India , Gilead Sciences is present with collaboration with Mylan since 2014 for HIV and Hepatitis B drug and Roche Actemra is sold by Cipla Ltd. (CIPLA) at price of Rs.20,000 for 200mg.

Though it is early to say that drugs will be used globally for this COVID-19 treatment. But given the acceptance post compassionate use of drugs along with the speed at which they are running the clinical trials of both drugs in various countries , the lead is surely taken by them.

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