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Pharmaceuticals

Coronavirus trials for Actemra arthritis drug to start in Japan

Chugai and Roche's medication already set for tests in US

The trials will determine whether the arthritis treatment is effective against pneumonia caused by coronavirus infection.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Chugai Pharmaceutical will conduct a clinical trial in Japan using its Actemra arthritis medication to treat patients with coronavirus-induced pneumonia.

The study's time frame and other details need to be finalized, the Tokyo-based company said Wednesday. Its Swiss parent, Roche Group, said last month that it was launching similar clinical trials in other countries including the U.S., where the Food and Drug Administration last month fast tracked the drug as a coronavirus treatment.

Actemra, released by Chugai in 2005, is approved to treat eight conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. The drugmaker hopes to add coronavirus-induced pneumonia to that list.

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