Coronavirus: Anakinra, a promising treatment?

Published by Laurent P. · Updated on 1 June 2020 at 17h45 · Published on 31 May 2020 at 10h17
Is Anakinra an effective treatment against coronavirus? According to a French study released in The Lancet, the medicine usually prescribed for rheumatic diseases released encouraging results on severe Covid-19 forms. First results that will have to be confirmed on a greater number of patients.

A new treatment to fight against coronavirus? French searchers discovered that Anakinra, a medicine usually given to people suffering from rheumatic diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis, is said to be effective against some severe forms of Covid-19. A study released in the prestigious The Lancet magazine and which encouraging results will have to be confirmed in a wider trial including more patients.

A treatment said to drastically decrease mortality in people severely infected and that could reduce the necessity of putting some patients on breathing support. “The significative reduction of the death rate mixed with the use of anakinra for Covid-19 in this study is encouraging in these difficult times” rheumatologist at the Alabama University Randy Cron explains in a commentary about The Lancet on this study.

Carried on by a group of doctors from the Groupe hospitalier Paris Saint-Joseph had included two groups: a first one with 52 patients who have been treated for 10 days with sub-cutaneous injection (100mg twice a day for 72 hours, then 100mg once a day for seven days), and another group with 44 patients who have been given a standard treatment and used as a test group. Both groups have been taken care of by the same institution and all patients had a severe case od COvid-19. And results are speaking for themselves: in the group treated with Anakinra, 25% of the patients only have been transferred to intensive care or have died, against 73% for the test group.

How does it really work? Like Calquence, to fight against cytokine shocks, this violent inflammatory reaction of the immune system leading to an acute breathing distress syndrome, targeting one particular cytokine, Interleukine-1. According to doctors from the hospital group at the origin of the study, giving Anakinra enabled “statistically significative reduction of death and transfer to intensive care for breathing support with mechanical ventilation”. They add that oxygen needs quickly decreased within 7 days of treatment.

A new hope then and another step towards the eradication of the virus, while waiting for new clinical trials.

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