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Infect Dis Ther ; 11(6): 2159-2176, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2075720


INTRODUCTION: Vidofludimus calcium has shown anti-inflammatory effects in clinical trials of autoimmune diseases and recently demonstrated antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We performed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vidofludimus calcium in patients hospitalized for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Europe and the USA. METHODS: Patients aged 18 years or older who positive for COVID-19 were randomized (1:1) to receive placebo or 45 mg vidofludimus calcium for 14 days with both groups receiving standard-of-care treatment. The primary endpoint was the need for invasive ventilation after 28 days ( NCT04379271; EudraCT 2020-001264-28). RESULTS: Between June 12, 2020 and December 10, 2020, a total of 223 were randomized to receive either placebo (n = 112) or vidofludimus calcium (n = 111); three patients withdrew consent and were not treated. Eight (9%) patients in the placebo group and 12 (11%) patients in the vidofludimus calcium group needed invasive ventilation during the 28-day study period, which was lower than the assumed rate of 40%. Time to clinical improvement was shorter by approximately 1 day in the vidofludimus calcium group (15.0 days [90% CI 14.8-15.9]) compared to the placebo group (15.9 days [90% CI 14.9-19.9]). This effect was greatest in patients who initiated therapy within 9 days of symptom onset (3.8 days shorter in the vidofludimus calcium group). Higher trough concentrations of vidofludimus calcium were associated with quicker time to clinical recovery. The rate and timing of appearance of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were not different between groups. Serious adverse events occurred in 4 (4%) patients in the placebo group and 2 (2%) patients in the vidofludimus calcium group; treatment-emergent adverse events of increased severity related to COVID-19 occurred in 13 (12%) patients in the placebo group and 8 (7%) patients in the vidofludimus calcium group. Overall mortality was low (2%). CONCLUSIONS: These findings support vidofludimus calcium being safe and well tolerated in patients with COVID-19.

Viruses ; 12(12)2020 12 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-966929


The ongoing pandemic spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) demands skillful strategies for novel drug development, drug repurposing and cotreatments, in particular focusing on existing candidates of host-directed antivirals (HDAs). The developmental drug IMU-838, currently being investigated in a phase 2b trial in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, represents an inhibitor of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) with a recently proven antiviral activity in vitro and in vivo. Here, we established an analysis system for assessing the antiviral potency of IMU-838 and DHODH-directed back-up drugs in cultured cell-based infection models. By the use of SARS-CoV-2-specific immunofluorescence, Western blot, in-cell ELISA, viral yield reduction and RT-qPCR methods, we demonstrated the following: (i) IMU-838 and back-ups show anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity at several levels of viral replication, i.e., protein production, double-strand RNA synthesis, and release of infectious virus; (ii) antiviral efficacy in Vero cells was demonstrated in a micromolar range (IMU-838 half-maximal effective concentration, EC50, of 7.6 ± 5.8 µM); (iii) anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity was distinct from cytotoxic effects (half-cytotoxic concentration, CC50, >100 µM); (iv) the drug in vitro potency was confirmed using several Vero lineages and human cells; (v) combination with remdesivir showed enhanced anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity; (vi) vidofludimus, the active determinant of IMU-838, exerted a broad-spectrum activity against a selection of major human pathogenic viruses. These findings strongly suggest that developmental DHODH inhibitors represent promising candidates for use as anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Repositioning , Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Chlorocebus aethiops , Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic , Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase , Drug Discovery , Drug Synergism , Humans , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects