COVID-19 pneumonia outcomes similar with favipiravir–inhaled interferon beta, HCQ
The combination of favipiravir plus inhaled interferon beta-1b shows comparable outcomes with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia, according to the results of an open-label trial.
A total 89 adult patients (mean age, 55 years; 58 percent male) received either a combination of favipiravir plus interferon beta-1b by inhalation aerosol (n=44) or HCQ alone (n=45). The most prominent symptoms recorded were fever (82 percent), shortness of breath (79 percent), and sore throat (39 percent). Many patients had chronic kidney disease (CKD; 75 percent), hypertension (54 percent), diabetes mellitus (45 percent), or heart disease (15 percent).
The majority of patients were managed with antibiotics (97 percent), steroids (67 percent), and convalescent plasma (58 percent). Clinical characteristics were similar in the treatment groups, but patients on favipiravir were more likely to have severe COVID-19 and end-stage CKD compared with those on HCQ (p=0.009).
Treatment outcomes did not differ between the combination and HCQ, including inflammatory biomarkers at hospital discharge (C-reactive protein, p=0.413; ferritin, p=0.968; lactate dehydrogenase, p=0.259; interleukin-6, p=0.410).
The two treatment groups also had similar overall length of hospital stay (7 vs 7 days; p=0.948), transfers to the ICU (18.2 percent vs 17.8 percent; p=0.960), discharges (65.9 percent vs 68.9 percent; p=0.764), and overall mortality (11.4 percent vs 13.3 percent; p=0.778).
More trials are needed to validate the present findings.