First U.K. patient receives COVID-19 trial drug

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The first U.K. patient has been treated with an experimental drug for severe lung disease related to Covid-19, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said Monday.

The patient is part of the Oscar study conducted by U.K. pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC, set up to investigate whether one of its pipeline drugs, Otilimab, can help reduce the effects of the so-called cytokine storm–a severe immune reaction where the body starts to attack its own cells–which was found to occur in some hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

The drug is a monoclonal antibody that was already in late-stage clinical trials and was originally considered as a potential new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

The patient is being treated at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and was recruited to the study on Sept. 11.

The Oscar study, which stands for Otilimab in Severe Covid-19-Related Disease, is sponsored and funded by GlaxoSmithKline and is one of several studies that received the urgent public-health research status by the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care.

The study is planned to be extended to more hospitals across the U.K., the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said.

Write to Adriano Marchese at


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