What you need to know:
- It is used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients whose condition is not well controlled using the medication.
- This drug combination has already received approval for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration.
With the number of infections, hospitalisation and fatalities increasing daily, the world is in a rush to find an appropriate cure for Covid-19.
Multiple vaccines have been approved for emergency use in uninfected people to prevent Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
But now there is hope for the infected and hospitalised. An international team of scientists has found out that the drug Baricitinib improves the survival rate of adults with Covid-19.
Baricitinib, developed by Eli Lilly and Company, is a drug sold under the brand name Olumiant. It is used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients whose condition is not well controlled using the medication.
According to the study by the team of scientists drawn from multiple medical research facilities, using Baricitinib in combination with the antiviral drug Remdesivir also cuts the number of recovery days for critically ill patients.
Remdesivir is a broad spectrum antiviral medication. This drug combination has already received approval for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration.
Treatment of the most severe cases of coronavirus using Baricitinib and Remdesivir entered clinical trials in May.
This followed the results of preliminary treatment trials on Remdesivir conducted in April. These treatment trials showed that patients with coronavirus who were put on Remdesivir recovered in 11 days on average, in comparison to the 15 days for patients who did not receive the drug.
In the latest clinical trials, patients who required high levels of supplemental oxygen or a form of noninvasive ventilation recovered eight days faster when they received a combination of Baricitinib and Remdesivir in their treatment regimen.
“Baricitinib plus Remdesivir is superior to Remdesivir alone in cutting recovery time and speeding patient’s health improvement. It shortens the recovery period from 18 to just 10 days.
This combination is associated with fewer serious adverse events,” said Dr Andre Kalil, an infectious disease scientist and physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, who led the team.
The findings of this clinical trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Previously, infectious disease physicians have been using the combination of Remdesivir and Dexamethasone in the treatment of severe Covid-19. Although Dexamethasone blunts inflammation and is cheaper than Baricitinib, it can trigger unwanted side effects.