FDA authorizes drug for treatment of COVID-19

The US FDA has authorized emergency use of a drug for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients


At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the major hurdle while treating the infected patients was lack of drugs or treatment. However, as the pandemic progressed a number of guidelines were released and now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also cleared the emergency use authorization of the medicine Actemra for the treatment of COVID-19 infected patients who have been hospitalized. The drug could also be used for pediatric patients who are at least 2 years or older. Actemra can be given to patients who are on supplemented oxygen, receiving corticosteroids, on mechanical ventilation or on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

However, the drug has not been approved for the outpatients who are infected with COVID-19. During the clinical trials of the drug, it was given to the hospitalized patients along with their regular treatment for COVID-19. The results showed that the drug helped to reduce the risk of death and it also helped to reduce the time that patients remained in the hospital. Even the risk of the patients of being placed on ventilators was also decreased remarkably.

Patrizia Cavazzoni, the M.D. Director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research expressed that the recent decision by the FDA has shown its commitment towards encouraging new therapies in different phases of the pandemic. Cavazzoni added that the vaccinations have also significantly helped to reduce the number of hospitalizations with the help of additional therapies but the recent drug approval is also an important step towards bringing an end to the pandemic.

Actemra is an antibody that helps to reduce the inflammation that blocks the interleukin receptor . When a person is expected with COVID-19 the immune system can be hyperactive that could lead to worsening of the patient’s condition. However, the drug does not act directly to SARS-COV-2. The medication has to be administered with the help of intravenous infusion and is already approved by the FDA for other inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

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