(Bloomberg) -- The European Medicines Agency’s drug advisory board backed the use of Roche Holding AG’s Roactemra for adults who are severely ill with Covid-19, providing doctors with another tool as the latest wave of the pandemic spreads. 

The medicine, sold as an arthritis treatment under the name Actemra, has already been in broad use in many countries to treat Covid. The EU recommendation is for patients who are taking steroids and need oxygen or are on ventilators. 

Roche shares rose 2.1% in Swiss trading.

U.K. authorities began encouraging the use of the Roche drug early this year, and it’s authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and recommended by the World Health Organization. A large study run by a University of Oxford team found that for every 25 severely ill patients treated with Actemra, one life would be saved.

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