Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Iran Testing Own Version of ‘Actemra’ to Treat COVID-19

Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman says the application of an indigenized version of Roche’s “Actemra” medicine has resulted in relative improvement of symptoms in some serious cases of coronavirus infections, but it is too soon to make any judgment.

Kianoush Jahanpour confirmed in an interview with ISNA on Wednesday that an Iranian version of the Swiss-made “Actemra” which regulates the immune system has been used at one of Isfahan’s hospitals and that a relative improvement in the patient’s symptoms has been observed.

“This has been the first case trial of the Persian biosimilar tocilizumab and the disease symptoms have improved 48 hours after the usage,” he said.

“But it is too soon to make any judgment,” the official stressed.

“The medicine has shown a relatively positive response 24 hours after the first injection.

Oxygenation in the patient and the chest radiography show better results, but the patient still gets intubated. Today and in next days the trial will continue at doctors’ discretion and if the medicine shows a relative efficacy in the cases, it will enter into the country’s drug list.”

“Some case reports in China indicate their relative efficacy in some serious cases of COVID-19,” said Jahanpour.

The medicine can be mass-produced in a matter of three weeks, he added.

The official, however, emphasized that the medicine cannot be generally used, but can be prescribed to those patients in CRS at the last stages of the disease, under certain circumstances.

At the same time, the efficacy of a couple of other biosimilar medicines i.e. interferon alpha and interferon beta, both of which already exist in the country’s drug list, is under consideration, he added.

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