(Reuters) – AstraZeneca said on Thursday it has started a late-stage trial testing its diabetes drug Farxiga to reduce the risk of serious complications and organ failure in COVID-19 patients with existing heart and kidney problems.
This is the British drugmaker’s second trial investigating an existing therapy to help treat the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The goal is to assess if Farxiga can cut the risk of disease progression, clinical complications and death in such patients, AstraZeneca said.
Some studies have shown that patients with existing heart conditions are at a high risk of developing COVID-19 complications, including heart failure, it added.
Farxiga, approved as a treatment for the common type-2 diabetes, is part of the SGLT2-inhibitor class of antidiabetic medication that cause the kidneys to expel blood sugar through urine and has shown promise in various heart and kidney condition trials.
AstraZeneca is partnering with the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute for the trial.
The company said last week it would start a trial of its cancer drug Calquence to assess its potential to control the exaggerated immune system response associated with COVID-19 infection in severely ill patients.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)