Bid to retool arthritis drug for COVID-19 fails

But trials of the agent are continuing in the UK in sicker patients

An attempt by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche to retool its rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab to treat patients with severe coronavirus-related pneumonia has failed in a late-stage trial, the company has announced.

Coronavirus particle

The 452-patient COVACTA trial was launched in March as Roche joined other pharmaceutical companies seeking to repurpose existing medicines to fight the pandemic.

In the trial, there was no difference in mortality rates after four weeks between patients