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Adding Interferon Beta-1a to Remdesivir No Better for COVID-19

For hospitalized adults with COVID-19, time to recovery did not differ with interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir versus remdesivir alone

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TUESDAY, Oct. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For hospitalized adults with COVID-19, time to recovery was not shorter for treatment with interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir compared with remdesivir alone, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Andre C. Kalil, M.D., from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and colleagues randomly assigned patients with COVID-19 at 63 hospitals across five countries to receive intravenous remdesivir and up to four doses of either interferon beta-1a or placebo administered subcutaneously every other day (487 and 482 patients, respectively).

The researchers found that participants in both groups had a time to recovery of five days (rate ratio for interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir versus placebo plus remdesivir, 0.99; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.87 to 1.13; P = 0.88). At 28 days, the Kaplan-Meier estimate of mortality was 5 and 3 percent in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir and placebo plus remdesivir groups, respectively (hazard ratio, 1.33; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.69 to 2.55; P = 0.39). Patients who did not require high-flow oxygen at baseline more often had at least one related adverse event in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group (7 versus 3 percent). Among patients who required high-flow oxygen at baseline, adverse events and serious adverse events, respectively, occurred more often in the interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir group (69 and 60 percent) versus the placebo plus remdesivir group (39 and 24 percent).

"Given the absence of benefit, subcutaneous interferon beta-1a treatment is not advised for patients hospitalized with COVID-19," the authors write.

Gilead Sciences provided remdesivir for use in the trial but did not provide financial support. EMD Serono provided interferon beta-1a and matching placebo for use in the trial but did not provide financial support.

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