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Right after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for one drug, feds pressed pause on distributing another.

Vaccines Are Available, but the Search for COVID-19 Therapeutics Continues

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for tocilizumab, which can be prescribed to adults and pediatric patients who are hospitalized, taking systemic corticosteroids, and require extra oxygen or ventilation. In clinical trials, tocilizumab, combined with other therapies, shortened hospital stays and reduced mortality risk for some patients with COVID-19.

“Although vaccines have been successful in decreasing the number of patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization, providing additional therapies for those who do become hospitalized is an important step in combating this pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The next day, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced the federal government is pausing the distribution of another COVID-19 therapeutic, the bamlanivimab and etesevimab combination injection, which had received its own EUA from the FDA in February. The ASPR explained this combination does not appear to be effective against some of the recent COVID-19 variants that have emerged globally, thus the decision to set aside this therapeutic for now.

To learn more about tocilizumab therapy, check out this article from the June issue of Critical Care Alert. For additional information about the bamlanivimab and etesevimab combination, read this feature from the April 15 issue of Internal Medicine Alert.

For even more Relias Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.