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Anti-inflammatory drug may shorten Covid-19 recovery time

Anti-inflammatory drug may shorten Covid-19 recovery
time 1

A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to
a drug already widely used for hospitalized Covid-19 patients
shortens their time to recovery by an additional day.

Eli Lilly announced the results Monday from a 1,000-person study
sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases. The result have not yet been published or reviewed by
independent scientists, but the government confirmed that Lilly’s
statement was accurate.

The study tested baricitinib, a pill that Indianapolis-based
Lilly already sells as Olumiant to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the
less common form of arthritis that occurs when a mistaken or
overreacting immune system attacks joints, causing inflammation. An
overactive immune system also can lead to serious problems in
coronavirus patients.

All study participants received remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences
drug previously shown to reduce the time to recovery, defined as
being well enough to leave the hospital, by four days on average.
Those who also were given baricitinib recovered one day sooner than
those given remdesivir alone, Lilly said.

Lilly said it planned to discuss with regulators the possible
emergency use of baricitinib for hospitalized Covid-19
patients.

If that’s approved, Lilly will propose that the drug be sold
through usual commercial means. Based on current pricing, the
government would pay $105 per patient per day, and for people with
private insurance, hospitals would pay about $150 per day, Lilly
said. What a patient ends up paying out of pocket depends on many
factors.

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It would be important to know how many study participants also
received steroid drugs, which have been shown in other research to
lower the risk of death for severely ill, hospitalized Covid-19
patients, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, former U.S. Food and Drug
Administration chief scientist now at Georgetown University who had
no role in the study.

Figuring out how to best use the various drugs shown to help
“is something we’re going to have to work at,” he said.

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