Eli Lilly and Company on Monday announced initial data over a combination treatment that shortened hospitalized coronavirus patients’ time to recovery.
The drug, baricitinib (marketed as Olumiant), is widely approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In the trial, baricitinib alongside remdesivir cut median recovery time by one day, company officials said, adding that the finding was “statistically significant.”
The data emerged from a double-blind randomized controlled trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), that began on May 8 and involved more than 1,000 patients. The trial set out to assess the safety and efficacy of a 4-mg dose of baricitinib plus remdesivir compared with remdesivir alone in hospitalized coronavirus patients.
NIAID expects to publish the details of the study in a peer-reviewed journal, company officials said.
Remdesivir, meanwhile, previously showed to reduce recovery time among coronavirus patients by four days, compared to a placebo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency approval for remdesivir on May 1.
"There is an urgent need to identify COVID-19 treatments, and we will continue to work with NIAID to understand these data and next steps on baricitinib's role moving forward,” Patrik Jonsson, Lilly senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines, said in a news release.
Based on this data, Lilly said it will start discussing potential emergency use authorization for a 4-mg dose of baricitinib for COVID-19 patients with the FDA. The drug is already approved for rheumatoid arthritis patients in the U.S. at a 2-mg daily dose.