Two-drug combo improves COVID-19 pneumonia outcomes

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For hospitalized COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, treatment with Gildead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir and the Eli Lilly and Co arthritis drug baricitinib was more effective than remdesivir alone, according to a clinical trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Overall, the 515 patients who received baricitinib – sold under the brand name Olumiant – along with remdesivir recovered in an average of seven days, compared to eight days for the 518 who got remdesivir alone.

People treated with both drugs also had fewer serious adverse events, plus 30% higher odds of showing improved health status after two weeks.

They also had a lower risk of death within four weeks of starting treatment – 5.1% versus 7.8% with just remdesivir. The effect was most pronounced among patients who needed high amounts of extra oxygen but were not sick enough to require ventilators to breathe for them.

In this group, the average time to recovery was 10 days with the two-drug treatment compared to 18 days with remdesivir alone.

The study authors note that baricitinib, a pill, is a generally safe drug that does not interact with other medications.

Main Photo: file photo EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

Read more via The New England Journal of Medicine

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