Treatment for blood cancer Calquence, from AstraZeneca, failed to improve survival rates and prevent lung failure in hospitalized patients with Covid19 symptomsthe drugmaker said Thursday, citing results from mid-phase trials.
The company called the result “disappointing,” but said its other efforts to combat the pandemic – a potential vaccine developed with the Oxford university and an experimental antibody-based treatment – were unaffected.
AstraZeneca is one of the big players in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer Inc. released efficacy data this week that was seen as an important milestone on the way to a global immunization campaign next year.
Calquence is in a class of medications called inhibitors Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) They can suppress autoimmune diseases, conditions in which the immune system accidentally attacks the body itself.
Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms, including pneumonia, are believed to be suffering from an immune system overreaction known as a cytokine rush.
AstraZeneca wanted to test whether Calquence, which suppresses certain elements of the immune system, can contain this immune response.
The drug, already used to treat certain types of blood cancer, is an approved treatment for adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in United States and several other countries.