Richard Furie, MD: The Difficulty in Finding Lupus Treatments


Dr. Richard Furie explains the link between systemic lupus erthematosus and COVID-19.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) remains one of the more challenging diseases to treat with very few options available.

However, in data presented at the European E-Congress of Rheumatology 2020 (EULAR 2020) virtual meeting, investigators believe AstraZeneca’s anifrolumab could be a potential treatment for this patient group.

In the new pooled analysis of the Phase III TULIP 1 and TULIP 2 clinical trials, the drug showed an early and sustained reduction in SLE disease activity measured by the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG)-based Composite Lupus Assessment (BICLA).

Anifrolumab also showed consistent clinical benefits across all measured patient subgroups, including age, sex, age at onset and race, compared to placebo and reduced annualized flare rates and prolonged time to first flare compared to placebo across both trials with both arms receiving standard of care.

Currently there is only 1 other drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the last 60 years.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Richard Furie, MD, chief of division of rheumatology with Northwell Health, explained the challenge investigators are having in clinical trials testing new treatments for SLE and how lupus patients in general are handling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

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