Covid-19: Calquence, an effective treatment against cytokine shocks?

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 13 November 2020 at 12h16 · Updated on 14 November 2020 at 13h41
Is Claquence an effective treatment to fight against Covid-19? Pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca has announced phase 2 of their clinical trials with this potential treatment to coronavirus “did not meet the primary endpoint”. A clinical trial which point was to try and assess its effect against cytokine shocks, this violent inflammatory response from the immune system, combined with Covid-19 infection.

After Remdesivir and Bamlanivimab, Calquence effective to fight against Covid-19? After pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca announced in a release, they launched a clinical trial for this treatment to assess its effect against cytokine shocks, they have just addressed the progress of the study, currently in phase 2. And news is not good… And for good reason: the laboratory announced the trials of phase 2 “did not meet the primary endpoint”.

According to the pharmaceutical group, adding Calquence to the treatment against Covid-19 in the event of respiratory distress did not “increase the proportion of patients who remained alive and free of respiratory failure”.

Named CALAVI, this clinical trial was based on the assessment Calquence (Acalabrutinib), a selective inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (and enzyme that acts in the production of cytokines, responsible for the extreme inflammatory response in the lungs) could be effective to alleviate cytokine shocks (this inflammatory storm that – when combined with an acute respiratory distress syndrome – can turn out deadly for patients), and then increase hospitalized patients’ chances of survival. The idea? Help patients avoiding respiratory support. A medication originally used in the treatment of some types of leukemia.

This trial is divided into two parts: the first one started to compare the addition of Calquence to the standard medicine of patients at the hospital – that were not in intensive care – while the second part consists in the same process, but this time on a group of patients in intensive care. “Since the beginning of the year, AstraZeneca has been committed to doing everything we can to respond to COVID-19, including investigating existing medicines as potential treatments. The CALAVI trials were launched based on preclinical and early clinical evidence that Calquence could decrease the hyperinflammatory immune response and improve clinical outcomes in patients hospitalised with respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.” AstraZeneca Executive Vice President of Oncology R&D José Baselga said.

Strong scientific evidence supports the hypothesis that Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibition, as with acalabrutinib, can reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with respiratory complications of COVID-19. Early clinical data has also shown that reduced inflammation from acalabrutinib can lessen the severity of respiratory distress from COVID-19.” Chief of the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch at the National Cancer Institute Louis M. Staudt said.

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