A recent study has found a 12.5% improvement for patients with severe COVID-19 when baricitinib was used in combination with remdesivir. That means a faster recovery time for patients and overall, better outcomes. This finding was uncovered by Eli Lilly and Company in collaboration with Incyte. The data were recently presented at the Isirv-AVG Virtual Conference.
Baricitinib therapy is already approved as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) however it has not yet been approved for COVID-19.
This study aimed to evaluate whether remdesivir on its own or in combinatiion with baricitinib proved more efficacious for patients. The investigation was a part of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial or ACTT-2. The primary endpoint of this trial was the time to recovery. “Recovery” in this instance, is defined as being discharged by the hospital. This means that oxygen was no longer needed. This outcome was met, with those on the combination treatment reaching recovery in 7 days compared to 8.
The researchers noted that the largest impact of the combination treatment was for those who were on supplemental oxygen as well as those who required high flow of oxygen through non-invasive ventilation.
The secondary endpoint was also met. Those on the combination treatment experienced improved clinical status at a higher level than those only taking remdesivir. On day 15 of the therapy, improvements were 30% higher on those receiving both therapies.
Finally, this trial showed that taking the combination treatment decreased death by 35% on the 29thday. The rate of death was 5.1% for those on the combination treatment compared to 7.8% for those taking remdesivir alone. Further, this finding was greater for those who had needed oxygen, reinforcing the results above.
This study has done a few notable things for the research of COVID-19. First, it has shown no additional safety concerns for two of the treatments providing the most hope as potential therapeutic options. Secondly, it has shown that two treatments may be better than one for treating severe COVID-19 cases.
This research team plans to have a full manuscript published soon. Additionally, conversations with the FDA are ongoing about providing Emergency Use Authorization for baricitinib, specifically for COVIID-19.
You can read more about these therapies here.