New Drug Helps COVID-19 Patients Breathe on Their Own

By Reuters Staff

May 12, 2021

(Reuters) - When a new monoclonal antibody drug was added to treatments being given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were still breathing on their own, the drug - lenzilumab from Humanigen Inc - significantly improved their odds of not needing invasive mechanical ventilation, researchers found.

The 540 patients in the randomized trial were already receiving a variety of standard treatments. Half of them also received lenzilumab via three intravenous infusions given every 8 hours.

In a paper posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review, the research team reported that patients in the lenzilumab group had a 54% better chance of surviving without needing mechanical ventilation.

In patients receiving steroids and Gilead Sciences antiviral drug remdesivir, the addition of lenzilumab improved survival without the need for mechanical ventilation by 92%. And in patients under age 85 whose immune system was in the early stages of triggering a life-threatening inflammatory response, lenzilumab improved the odds of ventilator-free survival by nearly three-fold.

Humanigen Chief Executive and study coauthor Dr. Cameron Durrant said his team believes the results "indicate a substantial improvement in COVID-19 treatment."

SOURCE: medRxiv, online May 5, 2021.


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