Cancer drug could reduce COVID-19 deaths, study finds

Cancer drug could reduce COVID-19 deaths, study finds
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Biotech company Veru announced Tuesday that the results of a COVID-19 treatment trial indicate that one of the firm's anti-cancer treatments was effective in reducing the risk of death among coronavirus patients.

The company pointed to the results of a double-blind study involving 40 hospital patients, some of whom were given the company's VERU-111 anti-cancer treatment and others who were given a placebo, which found the drug was responsible for an 82 percent "relative reduction" in the rate of respiratory failure or death.

“We are very pleased with the results of our Phase 2 trial, which demonstrated clinically meaningful reductions in relevant endpoints, including respiratory failure, days in the ICU and on mechanical ventilation and patient mortality. We believe VERU-111 has significant potential in treating COVID-19, both as a broad-spectrum antiviral and an anti-inflammatory agent," said Veru's CEO Mitchell Steiner.

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“Due to the urgency of the global pandemic and need for more effective treatment options for patients, we are duty-bound to pursue this indication, even though it has not been the primary focus of Veru," he continued.

The company will now pursue a phase 3 trial of the treatment in the hopes of general approval for use later this year, Steiner told CNBC.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for general use to treat COVID-19 in October, just weeks after former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE was given a dose of the drug at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than 464,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in early 2020. The rate of new cases has sharply declined across the country following its peak in early January, but has yet to fall back to the same levels of new infections the country saw for most of last year.