June 17, 2020 / 8:53 PM / 16 days ago

Italian study shows no improvement from Roche's rheumatoid arthritis drug for COVID-19

June 17 (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG's Actemra did not improve symptoms in patients with early-stage COVID-19 pneumonia, scientists conducting a study of the drug in Italy said on Wednesday, raising questions about the potential of the Swiss drugmakers' rheumatoid arthritis drug to treat the novel coronavirus.

The study compared patients who received anti-inflammation drug Actemra to those given standard treatment, and concluded that Actemra did not reduce severe respiratory symptoms, intensive care visits, or death.

The trial ended early after enrolling 126 patients, about one third of the expected number, according to a press release issued by the groups that conducted the study.

Reporting by Carl O'Donnell Editing by Chris Reese

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