HealthDay News — For hospitalized adults with COVID-19, treatment with baricitinib in addition to standard of care does not reduce the frequency of disease progression overall, but it is associated with reduced mortality, according to a study published online September 1 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Vincent C. Marconi, MD, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a phase 3, double-blind trial involving participants from 101 centers across 12 countries. Hospitalized adults with COVID-19 receiving standard of care were randomly assigned to once-daily baricitinib or matched placebo (764 and 761, respectively) for up to 14 days. The proportion of patients who progressed to high-flow oxygen, noninvasive ventilation, invasive mechanical ventilation, or death by 28 days was the composite primary end point.

The researchers found that 27.8 and 30.5% of participants receiving baricitinib and placebo, respectively, progressed to meet the primary end point (odds ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.67 to 1.08; P =.18). The 28-day all-cause mortality rate was 8 and 13% for baricitinib and placebo, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.78; nominal P =.0018); per 20 baricitinib-treated patients, one additional death was prevented. The 60-day all-cause mortality was 10 and 15% for baricitinib and placebo, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.83; P =.0050). The 2 groups had similar frequencies of serious adverse events, serious infections, and venous thromboembolic events.

“Baricitinib plus standard of care could be a treatment option to reduce overall deaths in the context of the global burden of mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly and Company, which manufactures baricitinib and funded the study, under license from Incyte Corporation.

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