International clinical trials launch for potential COVID-19 treatment

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A pharmacist gives Jennifer Haller, left, the first shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Regeneron, whose Industrial Operations and Product Supply headquarters is in Rensselaer, and Sanofi announced the start of an international clinical trial for patients with severe COVID-19 on Monday.

This follows an announcement earlier this month of the start of the first trial, which was based in the U.S.

The multinational pharmaceutical companies say that the first patients in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and Russia began treatment in clinical trials for Kevzara.

Kevzara blocks the receptor for a special kind of protein called interleukin-6, which could play a role in immune responses causing respiratory distress among coronavirus patients.

“These trials will provide important data to determine whether Kevzara ameliorates the life-threatening complications of COVID-19 infections by counteracting the overactive inflammatory immune responses in the lungs when damaged by the virus.”

Dr. John Reed, Sanofi’s Global Head of Research and Development

The international trial examines the safety and effectiveness of intravenous Kevzara, and will recruit about 300 hospitalized corona patients.

A preliminary study from China using a different IL-6 antibody gestures at the protein’s potential role in the pathology of coronavirus. In that study, which was not peer-reviewed, about 20 COVID-19 patients had lower fevers and needed less oxygen support.

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