Blood cancer drug Calquence from AstraZenca shows positive signs in COVID-19 treatments


Blood cancer drug Calquence from AstraZenca shows positive signs in COVID-19 treatments&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

Various drugs and vaccine candidates are under trial around the world to prevent, treat COVID-19

A blood cancer drug, used to treat Leukemia, has shown promise in initial trials for treatment of COVID-19

The drug is produced by the pharma company AstraZeneca, which is also producing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Oxford University

New Delhi: The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the whole world in some way or the other, and with no specific treatment or vaccine for the disease yet, medical experts and scientists around the world are working tirelessly to find ways to treat COVID-19 patients. According to a Reuters report, cancer drug Calquence has shown initial positive results in treating COVID-19 patients.

The drug is produced by AstraZeneca, the Pharma company that has partnered with the Oxford University for the production of their COVID-19 vaccine, that is currently under advance human trials. The drug reportedly helped COVID-19 patients get through the worst of the disease. Researchers are now scrambling to repurpose existing treatments to fight the deadly virus.

Clinical trials of the drug for wider use in COVID-19 patients was announced in April. Results from the preliminary research, involving 19 patients encouraged the drug makers to undertake the clinical trial. 

Eleven patients who had been on oxygen support were given Calquene course for 10-14 days, and eight of them could be discharged afterwards, breathing independently, according to the results in a paper co-authored by Astra's head of Oncology research, Jose Baselga. However, one patient died of pulmonary embolism.

"These patients were in a very unstable situation, they would have had a dire prognosis ... Within one to three days the majority of these patients got better in terms of ventilation and oxygen needs," Astra's Baselga told Reuters.

Calquene can, reportedly, suppress certain elements of the immune system, reducing chances of cytokine storm, one of the common reasons of deaths being reported in relation to COVID-19. Calquence, in its approved use, is used for Leukemia treatment, a common type of blood cancer in adults.

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