Rheumatoid arthritis drug cuts coronavirus deaths in clinical trial, Eli Lilly says

Eli Lilly and Company said on Thursday that there were fewer deaths among coronavirus patients who were given a combination therapy involving its rheumatoid arthritis drug and Gilead Sciences Inc’s GILD.O remdesivir drug compared to those who only received remdesivir.

The company has previously shared that the drug, baricitinib, which is marketed as Olumiant, in combination with remdesivir, was shown to cut hospitalization time for coronavirus patients. The findings come from a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored trial dubbed the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-2).

The company previously shared that the drug, in combination with remdesivir, was shown to cut hospitalization time for coronavirus patients. 

The company previously shared that the drug, in combination with remdesivir, was shown to cut hospitalization time for coronavirus patients. 
(Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly)

In the data shared on Thursday, the company said that the largest benefits were observed in coronavirus patients requiring supplemental oxygen, and those who required high-flow oxygen/non-invasive ventilation.

CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY TIME REDUCED BY RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS DRUG AND REMDESIVIR, ELI LILLY SAYS

“Using the ordinal scale that ranged from recovered to death, the odds of improvement in clinical status at Day 15 were 30% greater in patients being treated with baricitinib in combination with remdesivir compared with remdesivir,” the company said in a news release. “A numerical decrease in death (35%) through Day 29 was observed in patients treated with baricitinib plus remdesivir compared to remdesivir in the overall population.”

In coronavirus patients receiving oxygen, the difference was more pronounced. Mortality at Day 29 was 60% lower in patients requiring supplemental oxygen, and 43% lower for patients requiring high-flow oxygen/non-invasive ventilation.

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Baricitinib is not currently approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19, although the company is gearing up to seek Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), according to the news release.

“We are excited that these results add to the potential role for baricitinib to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Ilya Yuffa, Lilly senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines, said in a statement. “Lilly is committed to identifying impactful preventions and treatments, and we are engaged in discussions with the FDA regarding the potential to make baricitinib available to hospitalized patients as quickly as possible.”

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The company said it is working to have the full trial analysis completed and a peer-reviewed manuscript “available soon.”

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