Covid-19 roundup: Sanofi & Regeneron deliver disappointing news on IL-6; Alex Azar rumors are swirling at HHS
A popular theory for how to treat some of the worst symptoms of Covid-19 stumbled today.
Sanofi and Regeneron announced that a Phase II/III trial on their immune-blocking drug Kevzara will only be continued for the worst-off patients and at the highest dose, after an independent analysis of the Phase II results showed the drug was likely having little effect in many patients.
The Kevzara trial was premised on the idea that some life-threatening symptoms of Covid-19 were caused not by the virus but by an overactive immune response called a cytokine storm. Kevzara blocks the cytokine IL-6, potentially calming those storms, something highlighted in a small study conducted in China during the height of the first outbreak. The same theory spurred trials for Actemra, the Roche IL-6 drug that has long been used to treat the cytokine storms sometimes caused by CAR-T therapy.
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