Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 treatment trial shows promising results for hospitalized patients


INDIANAPOLIS — Initial data from a COVID-19 treatment trial by Eli Lilly and Company and Incyte shows promising data in the fight against COVID-19.

The purpose of the study was to find out if baricitinib — a drug approved for rheumatoid arthritis patients — can help people recover more quickly from COVID-19. The trial assessed the efficacy of a dose of baricitinib plus remdesivir versus remdesivir in hospitalized patients with coronavirus.

Initial data suggests baricitinib in combination with remdesivir reduced the recovery time in comparison with remdesivir. Not only were patients recovering out of the hospital a day earlier but also they were in a less severe stage of the disease on average.

There are more than 800 COVID-19 patients in the hospital in Indiana. Eli Lilly hopes their medicine can help those patients and others across the country.

“That is a huge impact to think about, and we are really proud probably to become the only second drug with this kind of data ever,” said Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer of Eli Lilly and Company.

The trial included more than 1,000 patients and began in May. It was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We are very pleased with these data from the ACTT-2 study,” said Patrik Jonsson, Lilly senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines. “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.”

Lilly plans to discuss the potential for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Baricitinib is approved for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Authorization would potentially authorize a dose for COVID-19.

“For any patient who is hospitalized with COVID-19, leaving the hospital sooner is a very important outcome,” Skovronsky said.

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