Drugmaker says anti-inflamatory medicine may shorten COVID-19 recovery time

Drugmaker says anti-inflamatory medicine may shorten COVID-19 recovery time
© ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

A drugmaker announced Monday that its arthritis drug shortens the number of days in the hospital for COVID-19 patients when used in combination with Remdesivir, another drug already used widely to treat the disease. 

The use of Baricitinib, a rheumatoid arthritis drug from Eli Lilly, led to a one-day reduction in recovery time for patients when combined with Remdesivir compared to patients who only took Remdesivir, according to a trial. The trial involved more than 1,000 patients and was conducted by Eli Lilly, a drug company based in Indianapolis, and the National Institutes of Health.

The finding was statistically significant, Eli Lilly said in a statement

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The company did not release the full results of the study but stated the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is expected to publish full results in peer-review studies and that additional analyses are ongoing to understand clinical outcome data, including safety and morbidity data. 

“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 statement. 

The company plans to have discussions with Food and Drug Administration officials about potentially approving the drug for emergency use to treat COVID-19. 

On its own, studies have shown Remdesivir can shorten the recovery time for COVID-19 patients by four days.