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Front Pharmacol ; 13: 1020123, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224861


Background: An in silico screen was performed to identify FDA approved drugs that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro), followed by in vitro viral replication assays, and in vivo pharmacokinetic studies in mice. These studies identified atovaquone as a promising candidate for inhibiting viral replication. Methods: A 2-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection. Enrolled patients were randomized 2:1 to atovaquone 1500 mg BID versus matched placebo. Patients received standard of care treatment including remdesivir, dexamethasone, or convalescent plasma as deemed necessary by the treating team. Saliva was collected at baseline and twice per day for up to 10 days for RNA extraction for SARS-CoV-2 viral load measurement by quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR. The primary outcome was the between group difference in log-transformed viral load (copies/mL) using a generalized linear mixed-effect models of repeated measures from all samples. Results: Of the 61 patients enrolled; 41 received atovaquone and 19 received placebo. Overall, the population was predominately male (63%) and Hispanic (70%), with a mean age of 51 years, enrolled a mean of 5 days from symptom onset. The log10 viral load was 5.25 copies/mL vs. 4.79 copies/mL at baseline in the atovaquone vs. placebo group. Change in viral load did not differ over time between the atovaquone plus standard of care arm versus the placebo plus standard of care arm. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies of atovaquone plasma concentration demonstrated a wide variation in atovaquone levels, with an inverse correlation between BMI and atovaquone levels, (Rho -0.45, p = 0.02). In post hoc analysis, an inverse correlation was observed between atovaquone levels and viral load (Rho -0.54, p = 0.005). Conclusion: In this prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, atovaquone did not demonstrate evidence of enhanced SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance compared with placebo. However, based on the observed inverse correlation between atovaquone levels and viral load, additional PK-guided studies may be warranted to examine the antiviral effect of atovaquone in COVID-19 patients.

Lancet Respir Med ; 9(12): 1365-1376, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472211


BACKGROUND: Functional impairment of interferon, a natural antiviral component of the immune system, is associated with the pathogenesis and severity of COVID-19. We aimed to compare the efficacy of interferon beta-1a in combination with remdesivir compared with remdesivir alone in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. METHODS: We did a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial at 63 hospitals across five countries (Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and the USA). Eligible patients were hospitalised adults (aged ≥18 years) with SARS-CoV-2 infection, as confirmed by a positive RT-PCR test, and who met one of the following criteria suggestive of lower respiratory tract infection: the presence of radiographic infiltrates on imaging, a peripheral oxygen saturation on room air of 94% or less, or requiring supplemental oxygen. Patients were excluded if they had either an alanine aminotransferase or an aspartate aminotransferase concentration more than five times the upper limit of normal; had impaired renal function; were allergic to the study product; were pregnant or breast feeding; were already on mechanical ventilation; or were anticipating discharge from the hospital or transfer to another hospital within 72 h of enrolment. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive intravenous remdesivir as a 200 mg loading dose on day 1 followed by a 100 mg maintenance dose administered daily for up to 9 days and up to four doses of either 44 µg interferon beta-1a (interferon beta-1a group plus remdesivir group) or placebo (placebo plus remdesivir group) administered subcutaneously every other day. Randomisation was stratified by study site and disease severity at enrolment. Patients, investigators, and site staff were masked to interferon beta-1a and placebo treatment; remdesivir treatment was given to all patients without masking. The primary outcome was time to recovery, defined as the first day that a patient attained a category 1, 2, or 3 score on the eight-category ordinal scale within 28 days, assessed in the modified intention-to-treat population, defined as all randomised patients who were classified according to actual clinical severity. Safety was assessed in the as-treated population, defined as all patients who received at least one dose of the assigned treatment. This trial is registered with, NCT04492475. FINDINGS: Between Aug 5, 2020, and Nov 11, 2020, 969 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group (n=487) or to the placebo plus remdesivir group (n=482). The mean duration of symptoms before enrolment was 8·7 days (SD 4·4) in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group and 8·5 days (SD 4·3) days in the placebo plus remdesivir group. Patients in both groups had a time to recovery of 5 days (95% CI not estimable) (rate ratio of interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group vs placebo plus remdesivir 0·99 [95% CI 0·87-1·13]; p=0·88). The Kaplan-Meier estimate of mortality at 28 days was 5% (95% CI 3-7%) in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group and 3% (2-6%) in the placebo plus remdesivir group (hazard ratio 1·33 [95% CI 0·69-2·55]; p=0·39). Patients who did not require high-flow oxygen at baseline were more likely to have at least one related adverse event in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group (33 [7%] of 442 patients) than in the placebo plus remdesivir group (15 [3%] of 435). In patients who required high-flow oxygen at baseline, 24 (69%) of 35 had an adverse event and 21 (60%) had a serious adverse event in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group compared with 13 (39%) of 33 who had an adverse event and eight (24%) who had a serious adverse event in the placebo plus remdesivir group. INTERPRETATION: Interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir was not superior to remdesivir alone in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Patients who required high-flow oxygen at baseline had worse outcomes after treatment with interferon beta-1a compared with those given placebo. FUNDING: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (USA).

Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Interferon beta-1a/therapeutic use , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Adult , Aged , Alanine/therapeutic use , Double-Blind Method , Female , Humans , Japan , Male , Mexico , Middle Aged , Oxygen , Oxygen Saturation , Republic of Korea , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore , Treatment Outcome , United States