Mar 20, 2020 06:56 PM

Swiss Drug Giant Launches Global Clinical Trial for Coronavirus Treatment

What’s new: Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start a phase three clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of arthritis drug Actemra for the treatment of patients with severe pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus, the company said Thursday.

Roche aims to recruit around 330 patients suffering Covid-19 pneumonia worldwide starting in April. Actemra is often used for the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis.

What else you need to know: Roche’s trial will be randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled, which means neither doctors nor patients know whether they use the active drug or a placebo, so researchers can analyze whether the patients truly benefit from the treatment or recover on their own.

Why it’s important: This is the first global study of the medicine in this setting, according to Roche. There are several similar clinical trials in China.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.


China Says Japan-Developed Drug Avigan Works Against Coronavirus

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi ( and editor Lin Jinbing (

You've accessed an article available only to subscribers
Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code