China will make use of a Roche Holding AG arthritis drug to treat some coronavirus sufferers in severe conditions, health authorities stated Wednesday, as the country seeks to construct up treatment regimens to help the infected recover.
Tocilizumab, sold by the Swiss pharma behemoth under the trade title Actemra, can be prescribed to coronavirus patients who show serious lung injury and show increased level of a protein called Interleukin 6, which may indicate inflammation or immunological illnesses, the National Health Commission (NHC) stated in the newest version of its treatment guidelines revealed online.
There is no medical trial evidence yet that the drug will be effective on coronavirus sufferers, however. Actemra also has not won clearance from China’s National Medical Product Administration to be sold for use for coronavirus infections.
Chinese researchers recently registered a 3-month clinical trial for Actemra that will recruit 188 coronavirus sufferers and happen from February 10 to May 10, based on records proven on China’s clinical trial registration database.
Roche couldn’t be reached for comment. The company stated Monday it donated 14 million yuan ($2.02 million) worth of Actemra during February.
The agency stated in January it expects sales and earnings growth in 2020 as demand for new medication and more business in China balance out drops in older medicines whose patents have expired.
Chinese drug manufacturers have been racing to develop options for Roche’s drug. Bio-Thera Solutions expects to send new drug approval for its Actemra biosimilar in 2021, and Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical received regulatory clearance back in 2016 to conduct medical trials for its Tocilizumab candidate.