Treating COVID-19 with Immune Modulator Drugs

June 10, 2022

Earlier this month, the NIH published a news release covering the results of a clinical trial with COVID-19 hospital patients treated with infliximab or abatacept. These drugs are often used to treat certain autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Topline results showed that these two immune modulator drugs “substantially improve[ed] clinical status and reduc[ed] deaths” in adult patients when used in conjunction with the “standard of care” for COVID-19 patients, which could also include remdesivir and dexamethasone. Patients who received infliximab had a decreased death rate of 10% compared to 14.5% for patients who received a placebo. “People in the infliximab group had 43.8% better odds of clinical improvement than those in the placebo group.” Patients who received abatacept had a death rate of 11.0%, compared to 15.0% of patients who received a placebo.

This trial is part of a larger, ongoing trial, studying the impact of certain drugs to reduce mortality in patients hospitalized with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 (1).