Thursday 23 April 2020 2:37 pm

Astrazeneca to trial diabetes drug as potential coronavirus treatment

Pharmaceuticals giant Astrazeneca today announced that it was beginning clinical trials to see if one of its diabetes drugs could be used to tackle coronavirus.

The trial will test whether Farxiga, which is used to treat type-2 diabetes, can reduce the risk of serious complications and organ failure in coronavirus patients with existing heart and kidney problems.

Read more: Astrazeneca rushes to open coronavirus drug trial

Astrazeneca said the goal of the trial was to assess whether the drug could inhibit disease progression, clinical complications and the chances of dying for such patients. 

Farxiga is used to make the kidneys expel blood sugar and has shown promising results in previous trials for heart and kidney conditions.

Astrazeneca is partnering with the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute for the trial.

The trial is the second such test Astrazeneca has undertaken to see if one of its existing treatments can be used to tackle the new disease. 

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Last week the drugmaker said it was testing to see whether blood cancer treatment Calquence could reduce the severity of coronavirus symptoms.

Early tests have indicated Calquence could suppress the inflammation caused by coronavirus and so mitigate respiratory harm. 

Astrazeneca said it was the fastest launch of any clinical trial in the company’s history.

Read more: Coronavirus: GSK chief urges drug firms to work together to develop vaccines

The drugmaker is also partnering with rival firm Glaxosmithkline to help the UK government to reach its target of achieving 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

With eight days until April, yesterday a total of nearly 23,000 tests were carried out, meaning there is some way to go to hit the target.