The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it will conduct an accelerated assessment of the arthritis drug Olumiant made by Eli Lilly and Incyte Corp to see if it can be rolled out to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients on oxygen.
The plan is to repurpose the drug for use in people over the age of 10 as a potential treatment to help reduce the inflammation and tissue damage associated with severe Covid-19 infections.
The review will assess the results from two large randomized studies in patients being treated for the virus, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.
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Olumiant’s active substance ‘baricitinib’ is a Janus kinase inhibitor, meaning that it blocks the action of enzymes that lead to inflammation.
The drug, which is also used to treat eczema, was given emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration in November, to be used in combination with the antiviral drug remdesivir on Covid-19 patients receiving oxygen.
This latest attempt at repurposing an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug to help fight Covid-19 follows those of Roche’s Actemra and Sanofi’s Kevzara, which were both approved for use in the UK earlier this year.
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