Drugmakers Announce Trial of Jakafi for COVID-19 Patients on Ventilators

May 6, 2020 Updated: May 6, 2020

Two drugmakers plan on testing a drug that blocks enzymes in COVID-19 patients on ventilators in the United States.

The phase-three trial of Jakafi will start soon on patients who are on mechanical ventilation and who have acute respiratory distress syndrome, a type of respiratory failure characterized by rapid onset of widespread inflammation in the lungs, Novartis and Incyte announced Tuesday.

Jafaki is trademarked by Incyte in the United States and by Novartis outside of the country.

The drug is a JAK (Janus kinase enzyme) inhibitor, and was previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of several conditions.

The trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drug, also known as ruxolitinib, plus standard of care, compared to standard of therapy alone, on the COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also called the novel coronavirus, which first appeared in China. Some patients require hospital care and a percentage of those struggle so much that they’re placed on ventilators, machines that help people breathe.

Epoch Times Photo
A mannequin wearing a ventilator in a file photograph. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The trial is the second evaluating Jafaki.

Incyte and Novartis launched a global phase trial last month assessing the drug in patients aged 12 years or older with COVID-19-associated cytokine storm.

Cytokines help the human immune system but having too many of them released in the body all at once, called a cytokine storm, can be harmful and can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Another study that Incyte is involved in is examining baricitinib, or Olumiant, against COVID-19. Baricitinib is another inhibitor that’s typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

A number of existing drugs are being analyzed around the world for safety and effectiveness against COVID-19, which has no proven treatments. Hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir are the most widely known ones, while others include Kevzara, Ivermectin, and lopinavir and ritonavir.

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