The healthcare system in the United States is bracing up as another massive outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus is coming in the following weeks. With no known cure or vaccine as of now, public health officials fear the death toll will rise once more. So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved remdesivir from Gilead Sciences for emergency use, which has demonstrated improved recovery time in clinical trials. Given the circumstances, it seems that Regeneron plans to move forward with its potential COVID-19 treatment testing.
This appears to have caught analysts by surprise as the biotech group based in Tarrytown, New York recently announced the end of one of its trials. Kevzara, a medication intended for rheumatoid arthritis, was being considered for its supposed benefits against COVID-19 in patients who were already on ventilators. It was being co-developed along with Sanofi, but the third phase of its experiments failed to produce favourable results.
Now, Regeneron has shifted its resources to perform more tests and evaluate the effects of REGN-COV2 – a drug that could potentially stop SARS-CoV-2 infections. Fox News, notes that it might be able to help those who had "close exposure to a COVID-19 patient (such as the patient's housemate)." The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is likewise providing assistance to hopefully fast-track the process.
"We are running simultaneous adaptive trials in order to move as quickly as possible to provide a potential solution to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections, even in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic," stated Regeneron co-founder, president and chief scientific officer George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph. D.
He also added: "We are pleased to collaborate with NIAID to study REGN-COV2 in our quest to further prevent the spread of the virus with an anti-viral antibody cocktail that could be available much sooner than a vaccine."
Regeneron plans to enrol 2,000 COVID-19 patients in the U.S. and the study will be conducted at "approximately 100 sites" for the third phase of its trials. Another parallel study will involve 1,850 patients that are hospitalised and 1,050 which are non-hospitalised. The latter will span several countries such as Chile, Mexico, and Brazil among others.