Roche’s Actemra and Sanofi’s Kevzara Get WHO’s Blessing for Treating COVID-19 Patients

July 9, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers — including Roche’s Actemra (tocilizumab) and Sanofi’s Kevzara (sarilumab) — plus corticosteroids for the treatment of severe COVID-19.

WHO researchers, who reviewed 27 trials enrolling nearly 11,000 patients, found that treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients with arthritis drugs, such as Actemra and Kevzara, helped reduce both the risk of death and the need for supplementary oxygen.

The findings, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that the risk of mortality for patients treated with an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist plus a corticosteroid like dexamethasone was reduced by 13 percent vs. standard of care at 28 days, while the risk of advancing to mechanical ventilation was slashed by 28 percent.

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