Anakinra: promising drug against Covid-19

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Anakinra could be an effective remedy in the fight against Covid-19. This drug has given "encouraging results" in patients with severe forms of the coronavirus. But what is this?

The only solution to end the coronavirus: a vaccine or a treatment. Hope therefore rests on the shoulders of scientists around the world, who have struggled for several months to find a cure for Covid-19. Among the drugs that fuel hope, we find dexamethasone, tocilizumab or remdesivir. Another drug that has raised some hope lately is anakinra. This drug could be a promising treatment to cure the coronavirus.

According to a French study, carried out by doctors at Saint-Joseph Hospital (GHPSJ) and published in the specialized journal The Lancet Rheumatology last May, anakinra would give "encouraging results" in the management of severe forms of Covid-19 and reduce the number of deaths and the need for artificial respiration in intensive care for severe forms of the disease.

A recent study conducted by a team of doctors in Marseille and reported by the daily La Provence, also confirmed the effects of anakinra. The researchers tested this drug in patients with severe forms of the disease. The results also showed that anakinra had beneficial effects on patients.

Anakinra and Covid-19: This drug is used to treat rheumatism.

Anakinra is a treatment marketed under the name Kineret by the Swedish company Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum). This is an immunomodulatory drug. This means that it has the ability to stimulate or slow down the reactions of the immune system. This treatment is well known to rheumatologists. And for good reason: It was initially used to treat certain inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and has been for more than ten years.

Covid-19: anakinra would prevent the "cytokine storm" Anakinra could counter the "cytokine storm", a violent inflammatory response of the immune system that manifests itself in some patients with severe forms of Covid-19. This inflammatory phenomenon can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The "cytokine storm" is the excessive production of cytokines (agents of the immune system). These cytokines attack various organs, especially the lungs and liver, and can lead to death. This is when anakinra kicks in. This drug is believed to block one of the cytokines called interleukin-1 (L-1), which causes a "cytokine storm."

Covid-19: anakinra would limit the risk of serious forms and death

According to the French study published in the specialized journal The Lancet Rheumatology, anakinra could reduce the risk of serious forms of the disease and reduce the number of deaths and artificial respiration. To reach this conclusion, the researchers administered the drug for 10 days by subcutaneous injection to 52 people with severe Covid-19.

At the end of the experiment, the scientists found a "statistically significant reduction in the risk of death and going to intensive care for mechanical ventilation." The result: a quarter of the patients treated with anakinra died or were transferred to intensive care, compared to 73% of the patients not treated with this drug. Additionally, anakinra also significantly reduced patients' oxygen requirements within seven days of its administration.

The recent experience, reported by the newspaper La Provence, also confirmed the effects of the drug. It was performed in 12 patients with a mean age of 61 years. The doctors prescribed and administered anakinra to all of them. After receiving the treatment, they felt better, while two patients in a control group of 10 died.

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