A man from Manchester becomes the first UK patient to be given an experimental arthritis drug as part of a clinical trial to treat severe Covid-19.
In addition to receiving standard care at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Farhan Hamid received a dose of otilimab, which is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Hamid, 41, from South Manchester, currently in intensive care, was recruited to participate in the Oscar study (Otilimab in Severe Covid-19 Disease) on September 11, 2020.
The aim of the research is to evaluate the effectiveness of otilimab in treating severe lung diseases related to Covid-19 infection.
The study at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, part of the University of Manchester’s NHS Foundation Trust, is led by Andy Martin, Consultant Intensive Care Medicine and Anesthesia.
Dr. Martin said: “The patients eligible to participate in this study are patients with very severe lung problems due to Covid-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilation assistance.
“We are conducting this study to see if otilimab – which is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis – may also reduce the effects of coronavirus on the lungs and dampen the effects of the virus on the immune system.”
Oscar is funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a UK-based pharmaceutical company, and is one of several Covid-19 studies that have received urgent public health research status from the Department of Health and Welfare US.
There are plans to enroll 800 patients worldwide for the study and GSK has announced that it will conduct the study at five hospitals in the UK.
Participants will be randomly divided into two groups, with half receiving a one-hour single infusion of otilimab, while others will receive intravenous placebo therapy in addition to standard care.
Dr. Tim Felton, Lecturer at the University of Manchester and clinical director of all Covid-19-related studies at the University of Manchester’s NHS Foundation Trust, said, “The primary endpoint of this study is that participants are alive and have no respiratory failure after 28 days – so this research is possibly life-saving. “
Christopher Corsico, GSK Senior Vice President Development, said, “We continue to work hard to find solutions to fight the pandemic, including exploring possible treatment options for Covid-19 patients.
“We know that some Covid-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system – sometimes referred to as a cytokine storm – that can lead to hospitalization or death.
“We believe that otilimab might be able to counteract this process or to calm it down.”
The results of the study are expected in the first half of 2021.