Sanofi says Kevzara drug fails as possible COVID-19 treatment

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The rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara has failed as a COVID-19 treatment, French drugmaker Sanofi announced following a similar flop of a Roche product.

Sanofi said Kevzara – which it produces with partner Regeneron – had failed as a COVID-19 treatment after the latest set of trials in patients across the world showed adverse effects, and would be dropped for studies in this field.

Sanofi said the trials had led in some cases to COVID-19 pneumonia infections and even death in a few cases.

The two companies do not anticipate conducting further clinical studies of it, Sanofi added.

Trials had shown that the drug did not help patients with less severe COVID-19, the companies had said in July.

“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,” said Sanofi’s global head of research and development, John Reed.

“At Sanofi, we are committed to help combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, including developing vaccine candidates that can be manufactured at large scale,” he added.

Pharmaceutical companies have been racing to develop treatments against the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 849,000 lives and crippled economies.

Last month, CEO Paul Hudson said Sanofi’s confidence in its coronavirus vaccine candidates had increased over the summer as the drugmaker prepared to start clinical trials.

In July, Roche said its attempt to retool its rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra/RoActemra to treat patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19-related pneumonia has failed in a late-stage trial. 

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