Adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalised COVID-19 patients shortens their recovery time by an additional day, said the drug company Eli Lilly on Monday.
The company had carried out a study on 1,000 persons. It was sponsored by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reported Hindustan Times (HT) adding that the results have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists.
Overactive immune system
The Indianapolis-based Lilly tested baricitinib, a pill it already sells as Olumiant to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is a less common form of arthritis that occurs when a mistaken or overreacting immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation. An overactive immune system also can lead to serious problems in coronavirus patients, the report added.
Remdesivir & barucitinib
All study participants were given Remdesivir, which is shown to reduce the recovery time by four days on average. Those who also were given baricitinib recovered one day sooner than those given Remdesivir alone, the report quoted Lilly as saying.
Lilly said it planned to discuss with regulators the possible emergency use of baricitinib for hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
“It would be important to know how many study participants also received steroid drugs, which have been shown in other research to lower the risk of death for severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients,” Dr Jesse Goodman, former US Food and Drug Administration chief scientist now at Georgetown University who had no role in the study was quoted as saying
Figuring out how to best use the various drugs shown to help “is something we’re going to have to work at,” he said.