Roche antibody shortage will last 'at least the next several weeks' amid COVID-19 surges

Hospitals are experiencing a shortage of Actemra, an anti-inflammatory monoclonal antibody that has been authorized to treat COVID-19 patients, that will last "at least the next several weeks," Genentech said Aug, 16.

Actemra is an intravenous infusion drug with the generic name tocilizumab that is produced by Roche subsidiary Genentech. It is FDA-approved to treat several inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. 

On June 24, The FDA authorized Actemra for treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. On July 6, the World Health Organization recommended the drug be administered with Sanofi antibody Kevzara to treat patients with severe COVID-19.

Genentech said recent surges in COVID-19 hospitalization in the U.S. have led to an "unprecedented demand for Actemra IV —well-over 400 percent of pre-COVID levels over the last two weeks alone and it continues to increase."

The drugmaker said it has taken action to address the shortage by allocating all three Actemra IV formulations, drop shipping the drug directly to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspot and collaborating with distributors and shipping carriers on logistics solutions.

"We expect the next scheduled replenishments to arrive by the end of August. However, if the pandemic continues to spread at its current pace, we anticipate additional periods of stockout in the weeks and months ahead," Genentech said.


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