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Current Affairs

Anti-inflammatory drug as Covid treatment

Date: 01 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Oxford University would study whether the world's best-selling prescription medicine, adalimumab, was an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients.

 

Background

Adalimumab, sold by AbbVie under the brand name Humira, is a type of anti-inflammatory known as an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug.

 

Details

  • Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 patients already taking anti-TNF drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis are less likely to be admitted to hospital.

  • Humira is used to treat a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and psoriasis.

  • The availability of biosimilar versions of the medicine, used for over two decades as an anti-flammatory, would make it affordable and accessible if the trial is successful.

  • Research has identified some treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients, including Gilead's remdesivir as well as the generic steroid drug dexamethasone.

  • Severe infections are believed to be triggered by an over-reaction of the immune system, known as a cytokine storm, and drugs that suppress certain elements of the immune system can play a role in arresting a rapid escalation of symptoms.

  • But there are not yet effective therapies for people who are not admitted to hospital. Care homes were particularly hard hit by the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK and other countries.