The first patient in a phase 3 trial was dosed with a drug from Eli Lilly that the pharmaceutical company hopes can help hospitalized patients with Covid-19.
The drug — named baricitinib and marketed as Olumiant — is a therapy approved to treat adults that have moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis.
The phase 3 study will enroll 400 patients with Covid-19 who have at least one marker for inflammation but have not been put on a ventilator by the start of the study. The study looks at whether the drug could reduce cytokine storm, the body’s hyper-inflammatory response to the virus and a severe complication that can come with Covid-19 infection.
About the trial: The trial will be conducted in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Lilly said the company should know how well the therapy works in a couple of months.
This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients will get standard care or they will be treated with baricitinib for 14 days or until they are discharged from the hospital. The study will measure if someone improves, if they are put on a ventilator by day 28, or if they die.
The drug is also being used in a few other trials with Covid-19 patients. In one trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, scientists are trialing the drug in combination with Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir.