A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized Covid-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an extra day.
Eli Lilly announced the results Monday from a 1,000-person study sponsored by the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The result have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists.
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The study tested baricitinib, a pill that Indianapolis-based Lilly already sells as Olumiant to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the less common form of arthritis that occurs when a flawed or overreacting immune system attacks joints, causing inflammation. An overactive immune system also can result in serious problems in coronavirus patients.
All study participants received remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug in the past shown to minimize the time to recovery, defined as being polite enough to leave the hospital, by four days on average. Those who also were provided baricitinib retrieved someday sooner than those provided remdesivir alone, Lilly said.
Lilly said it deliberate to talk about with regulators the imaginable emergency use of baricitinib for hospitalized Covid-19 patients.
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It would be important to understand how many study participants also received steroid drugs, which were shown in other research to lower the risk of death for severely ill, hospitalized Covid-19 patients, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, former US Food and Drug Administration chief scientist now at Georgetown University who had no role in the study.
Figuring out how to best use the quite a lot of drugs shown to help “is something we’re going to have to work at,” he said.