Two new ‘life-saving’ COVID-19 treatments discovered by British doctors – BGR


  • British researchers have just announced that a drug widely studied in the treatment of COVID-19 can save lives if given to patients with severe COVID-19 within the first 24 hours of admission to the units intensive care.
  • It’s tocilizumab, a drug researchers found effective in treating coronaviruses in November. At the time, scientists couldn’t tell if the drug could prevent death or just speed healing.
  • The new data indicates that tocilizumab and sarilumab may save an additional life for 12 critically ill COVID-19 patients.

A report from mid-November said a coronavirus drug showed great promise in treating severe COVID-19 in a study. The doctors were so impressed with the results that they had to stop the study early so that the research placebo group could also have access to the therapy. But researchers couldn’t explain at the time how the drug worked. The researchers found that the treatment could increase survival rates and / or reduce recovery time, but they couldn’t explain why. “We don’t know yet, we hope he will do both,” said Anthony Gordon, professor at Imperial College London. BBC at the time. Doctors hoped the drug would become the standard of care.

The drug in question was tocilizumab, an anti-inflammatory drug that was studied at different times during the pandemic and made the news several times. Some studies haven’t been able to definitively show that the drug works, but doctors haven’t given up on it. This led to the UK study, which shared its findings in November. Since then, doctors have finally figured out how the drug works and how to save more lives.

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It is not only tocilizumab that British doctors will use in the treatment of COVID-19 in the future, but also sarilumab, both of the same class of drugs used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The drugs are administered intravenously, with the UK government already working to secure supplies to patients. The drugs have been added to the country’s export restriction list.

“For 12 patients you treat with these drugs, you expect a life saving. It’s a great effect, ”said the same Gordon to BBC. In addition to saving more lives, the drugs also speed recovery and reduce the time critically ill patients need to spend in intensive care by about a week.

The REMAP-CAP trial was conducted in six different countries, not just the UK, and included 800 patients in intensive care. Almost 36% of patients who received standard care died, compared to 27% of patients who received tocilizumab or sarilumab. The key finding seems to relate to the timing of therapy. The drugs were administered to the patients within 24 hours of entering intensive care.

The drugs reduce the exacerbated inflammation that can appear in severe cases of COVID-19. Doctors are advised to give either medication to any COVID-19 patient who deteriorates despite taking dexamethasone. This is the life-saving COVID-19 treatment that was confirmed to be effective last summer by British researchers.

“The fact that there is now another drug that can help reduce the mortality of patients with Covid-19 is extremely welcome news and another positive development in the continued fight against the virus,” said the national medical director from the NHS, Professor Stephen Powis.

“The UK has a proven track record, and time and time again it is at the forefront of identifying and delivering the most promising and innovative treatments for its patients,” the Health Secretary said and Social Affairs, Matt Hancock, on this discovery. “Today’s findings are another historic development in finding a way out of this pandemic and, once added to the arsenal of vaccines and treatments already being rolled out, they will play an important role in the fight. against this virus. “

Dexamethasone is an incredibly affordable therapy because it is a widely used steroid. One treatment costs £ 5 ($ 7). But tocilizumab and sarilumab are much more expensive, with treatment costing between £ 750 ($ 1,019) and £ 1,000 ($ 1,359) per patient. the BBC points out that the drugs are still cheaper than the £ 2,000 ($ 2,716) paid for a day of intensive care.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he even knew it he was sharing his take on tech with readers around the world. Whenever he doesn’t write about gadgets, he miserably fails to walk away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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