DUBLIN – The Genentech arm of Basel, Switzerland-based Roche Holding AG plans to move its interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitor, Actemra (tocilizumab), into a global phase III trial in patients with severe pneumonia associated with COVID-19 infection.
The first attempt at using existing drugs to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 has yielded disappointing results. In 200 hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, a 14-day regimen of twice-daily treatment with Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir, Abbvie Inc.) did not hasten recovery when added to the standard of care.
LONDON – In the rush to test drugs against COVID-19, clinical trials in other indications are starting to be interrupted by the strains on health care systems and the fact that many potential patients are those most at risk from the effects of the novel coronavirus.
With medical researchers across the globe adjusting to the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19, commercial and academic trialists are taking action to protect essential studies. Regulators, too, are now joining the effort in a more concerted way, with the FDA issuing new guidance for industry, investigators and institutional review boards on conducting clinical trials during the pandemic.
Randomized trials of the broad-spectrum antiviral favipiravir, marketed as an anti-influenza treatment by Fujifilm Holdings Corp., have shown "obvious efficacy" against COVID-19, according to Zhang Xinmin, head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development.
Geneva-based Obseva SA’s phase III Primrose 2 trial with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist linzagolix in heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) due to uterine fibroids (UFs) hit the primary endpoint in 94% of patients, and the company in the second quarter of 2020 will report six-month data from the Primrose 1 study, which is also a phase III experiment, in the same indication.
Google sister company Verily Life Sciences LLC has been under an unprecedented amount of scrutiny since it was promoted over the weekend by President Donald Trump as responsible for a nationwide information and testing program for the emerging novel coronavirus.
BEIJING – One day after the U.S. began the first human trial of an mRNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19 on March 16, China said Tuesday evening that it had approved the first clinical trial of a vaccine candidate developed by domestic researchers.
The past week has seen a lot of movement in terms of tests to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. “It is notable that the diagnostics community is coming together in a way we have not seen in our 20 years covering this industry,” wrote William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein in a March 14 note. “Regulators, lab professionals, and manufacturers are all in a frenetic fury to try and get testing up and running, and we generally see a sense of ‘in it together’ playing out.”