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Saturday 4th April 2020

Arthritis drug used in coronavirus treatment had 95% success rate in China

The encouraging news came from China

A drug which is usually used for arthritis patients has had an incredible 95% success rate coronavirus treatment.

The startling news came in reports from China.

Doctors had used Tocilizumab - which is marketed as Actemra - to a sample of patients during the height of the outbreak.

And it is being claimed now that the vast majority of them left hospital within a fortnight.

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The drug usually treats the crippling inflammation which arthritis patients can suffer from.

Arthritis drug used in coronavirus treatment in China had success (Credit: Splash News)

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China has already approved the drug, described as a "wonder drug" for patients with coronavirus to treat lung inflammation associated with the virus.

But it has not yet been used to treat any such patients in Europe, even in clinical trials, according to a story on Mail Online.

It is manufactured by Roche and works by reducing levels of certain proteins in the body which people with rheumatoid arthritis have too much of.

Doctors in China decided to use in an attempt to combat an overreaction of the immune system which they had witnessed in some patients.

Dr Xiaoling Xu and colleagues have reported that within a few days, these patients' temperatures had returned to normal, and 19 of the 20 patients tested were discharged within two weeks. The other is recovering well, they said.

A man in a Chinese factory examines one of the new masks (Credit: Splash News)

The Federal Drugs Administration has given their permission to test the drug out on coronavirus patients there. The US has seen a massive rise in the number of cases of coronavirus, with 70,000 confirmed cases and deaths at around the 1,000 mark.

London hospitals, meanwhile, are facing a "tsunami" of new cases, with an explosion in demand caused by new cases combining with shorter staff numbers than usual as some self-isolate.

New evidence has also suggested that obese people fall into the "high risk" group, as the extra weight can put pressure on their lungs and also lowers the immune system.

The daily toll of those who have confirmed cases of coronavirus is now at 453, with 43 deaths just yesterday. New figures are usually released every day.

Measures to tackle the extra demand on the NHS have included plans to set up a field hospital at the ExCel exhibition centre, and recruiting retired NHS staff to help in the treatment effort.

What do you think of this story? Does it give you hope, or do you think it is too early to be optimistic about a potential cure for the virus? Go to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyfix and leave your comments to let us know your views.