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Lilly’s Olumiant combined with Gilead’s remdesivir hits the mark in COVID-19

The combination treatment hit the primary study endpoint of a reduction in recovery time

A study of Eli Lilly’s JAK inhibitor Olumiant in combination with Gilead’s antiviral med remdesivir met its primary endpoint in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

The ACTT-2 trial, which was sponsored by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), evaluated a 4mg dose of Olumiant (baricitinib) given alongside remdesivir versus remdesivir alone in over 1,000 participants.

The combination treatment hit the primary study endpoint of a reduction in recovery time, with an approximate one-day reduction in median recovery time for the overall patient population treated with Lilly and Gilead’s respective drugs.

The study investigators defined recovery as the participant being well enough for hospital discharge, meaning the participant did not require supplemental oxygen or ongoing medical care in hospital.

The combination treatment also met the secondary endpoint of comparing patient outcomes at day 15, using an ordinal eight-point scale ranging from fully recovered to death.

Olumiant is already approved for use as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and is a one of a group of anti-inflammatory drugs that have been studied as potential COVID-19 therapies.

Researchers have theorised that anti-inflammatory drugs, such as IL-6 inhibitors and JAK inhibitors, could counteract the overactive inflammatory responses observed in the lungs of critically ill and severely ill patients.

This includes Sanofi’s Kevzara (sarilumab) and Roche’s Actemra (tocilizumab), although both of these drugs failed their respective studies in COVID-19. Despite the disappointing results, Roche is continuing its investigation of Actemra in severe COVID-19, albeit in combination with remdesivir, while Sanofi is still evaluating Kevzara in patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19.

Following the promising results, Lilly’s is angling for an emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So far, only remdesivir and convalescent plasma therapies have received this authorisation from the FDA, with the latter causing controversy when health experts cast doubts over the efficacy of this type of treatment.

“As a company, we’ve moved quickly to develop and evaluate medicines for patients for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” said Daniel Skovronsky, senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Lilly.

“This data allows us to better understand baricitinib’s role in potentially improving outcomes for hospitalised COVID-19 patients, and we look forward to continuing this research alongside our other initiatives to combat COVID-19,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

16th September 2020

From: Research

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