J Med Virol. 2023 Jan 13. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28495. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Baricitinib and imatinib are considered therapies for COVID-19, but their ultimate clinical impact remains to be elucidated, so our objective is to determine whether these kinase inhibitors provide benefit when added to standard care in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
METHODS: Phase-2, open-label, randomized trial with a pick-the-winner design conducted from September 2020 to June 2021 in a single Spanish center. Hospitalized adults with COVID-19 pneumonia and a symptom duration ≤ 10 days were assigned to 3 arms: imatinib (400 mg qd, 7 days) plus standard-care, baricitinib (4 mg qd, 7 days) plus standard-care, or standard-care alone. Primary outcome was time to clinical improvement (discharge alive or a reduction of 2 points in an ordinal scale of clinical status) compared on a day-by-day basis in order to identify differences ≥ 15% between the most and least favorable groups. Secondary outcomes included oxygenation and ventilatory support requirements, additional therapies administered all-cause mortality and safety.
RESULTS: 165 patients analyzed. Predefined criteria for selection of the most advantageous arm were met for baricitinib, but not for imatinib. However, no statistically significant differences were observed in formal analysis, but a trend towards better results in patients receiving baricitinib was found compared to standard care alone (HR for clinical improvement 1.41, 95%CI 0.96-2.06; HR for discontinuing oxygen 1.46, 95%CI 0.94-2.28). No differences were found regarding additional therapies administered or safety.
CONCLUSIONS: Baricitinib plus standard care showed better results for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, being the most advantageous therapeutic strategy among those proposed in this exploratory clinical trial. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.