Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients Recovered Faster With Arthritis Drug

Eli Lilly's drug cuts COVID-19 recovery time in remdesivir-combo study

The Eli Lilly corporate headquarters in Indianapolis.

The study of more than 1,000 patients began in May and was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The study has not been published or reviewed by independent scientists, but USA health officials said Lilly's statement about the results was accurate, the AP reported.

More commonly used for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, baricitinib's prescription use in the U.S. also includes boxed warnings regarding patient risk for developing blood clots and serious infections.

Remdesivir, on the other hand, is the generic name of the drug Veklury which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences.

Lilly will review the ACTT-2 data with NIAID and assess any impact on COV-BARRIER, the Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study it initiated in June to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baricitinib versus background therapy in hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The drug baricitinib, branded as Olumiant, cut the median recovery time by about a day when added to remdesivir, compared to patients treated with the antiviral alone, Lilly said.

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According to Eli Lilly, the combination met the primary endpoint of reduced recovery time, which was defined as that the participant was well enough for discharge from hospital, meaning that they no longer needed supplemental oxygen or care continued in the hospital, or was no longer hospitalized on the 29th. The study started last May 8.

Using an anti-inflammatory medicine along with the antiviral drug remdesivir appears to shorten COVID-19 patients' recovery time, according to drug company Eli Lilly.

The company had carried out a study on 1,000 persons.

The drug costs about $105 per day for government customers and $150 a day for commercial customers, Mr. Ricks said. However, it is among the more promising inflammation-targeting therapies being considered for severe COVID-19 treatment.

"As an already approved and available drug, we believe baricitinib could serve as an important additional treatment option as the medical community continues to learn how to best manage patients hospitalized with COVID-19", said Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan.

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