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Sanofi halts Phase 3 trial of Kevzara as a COVID-19 treatment

Published on 01/09/20 at 12:16pm
Photo by John Keith/ This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2589

Sanofi is halting clinical trials treating serious COVID-19 patients with its Kevzara drug after data on its efficacy proved inconclusive.

The Phase 3 trial did not meet the primary or secondary endpoints compared with placebo and established hospital care. Overall, it did not help those with less severe cases of the virus and in some cases the trial environment led to COVID-19 pneumonia infections and even death in a few instances.

John Reed, Sanofi’s Global Head of Research and Development, said: “Although this trial did not yield the results we hoped for, we are proud of the work that was achieved by the team to further our understanding of the potential use of Kevzara for the treatment of COVID-19. At Sanofi, we are committed to help combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, including developing vaccine candidates that can be manufactured at large scale.”

Kevzara is an injectable prescription drug that is an interleukin (Il-6) receptor blocker, and the treatment is primarily used for treating adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. The drug can lower a patient’s ability to fight infections which has led to deaths from people catching fungal infections or other serious illnesses like tuberculosis.

Sanofi is currently working on two coronavirus vaccines, and one is set to start clinical trials this month. So far, the US and Britain have secured deals for the vaccine candidates, with the EU set to agree its own deal in the coming weeks. 

Conor Kavanagh

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