Adding arthritis drug baricitinib to remdesivir may reduce recovery time in adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study.
Scientists and healthcare professionals are working hard to find the best treatment that might benefit patients hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2. In a previous study, researchers observed that the remdesivir, an antiviral drug, was effective in patients with COVID-19. A group of scientists is now assuming that because a poorly regulated inflammatory response causes many severe symptoms of COVID-19, a treatment designed to target inflammation could be helpful. This led researchers to study a combination treatment using baricitinib and remdesivir in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study enrolled 1,033 patients with COVID-19 and evidence of pneumonia in eight countries. They all received remdesivir (≤10 days) and either baricitinib (≤14 days) or placebo. Baricitinib was given to 515 patients, and 518 received a placebo. Statistical analysis was then conducted to compare the effects of these two treatments on time to recovery.
Patients who received the combination treatment had a median recovery of seven days compared to eight days with remdesivir alone.
Patients who required high-flow oxygen or non‑invasive ventilation during hospitalization appeared to have had the most considerable benefit. Due to the combination treatment, their time to recovery was reduced from eighteen days to ten days. The participants’ clinical conditions improved, and there were fewer adverse effects.
More data are needed to clarify the role of baricitinib in managing COVID-19, especially data from studies that compare the use of baricitinib with the current standard of care and evaluate which subpopulations benefit the most from baricitinib.
Kalil AC., Patterson TF., Mehta AK., Tomashek KM., Wolfe CR., Ghazaryan V., et al. Baricitinib plus Remdesivir for hospitalized adults with Covid-19. N Engl J Med. 2020 Dec 11. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2031994.
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