Montefiore and Einstein test a new drug combination to conquer COVID-19

May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020 - (BRONX, NY)
In March, Montefiore was the first New York
location to join the multicenter trial, which evaluated remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral drug given intravenously. Preliminary results from the trial, announced last month and published on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that patients with COVID-19 who received remdesivir recovered in 11 days on average compared to 15 days for patients in the placebo group--a statistically significant improvement. Of the 1,063 clinical trial participants, 91 of them, nearly 10%, were from Montefiore and Einstein.

Following up on remdesivir's promising results, the trial is now studying remdesivir in combination with baricitinib or placebo in a double-blind, randomized trial. Baricitinib is marketed for reducing inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers want to know if baricitinib combined with remdesivir can prevent or reduce the hyper-inflammatory "cytokine storm" that can fatally overwhelm the lungs and other parts of the body in people with COVID-19 when their immune system reacts to coronavirus infection.

"What concerns us is that in some people the immune response to coronavirus can be more deadly than the infection itself, and there is no known treatment for this yet," said Barry Zingman, M.D., professor of medicine at Einstein and clinical director, infectious diseases, at the Moses division of Montefiore Health System. "Including baricitinib in our trial may reduce COVID-19-related inflammation and combining baricitinib with remdesivir may yield an even more effective treatment option for people most severely affected by this illness." Dr. Zingman oversaw the original remdesivir study at Montefiore and is directing ACTT 2.

Patients enrolled in ACTT 2 are hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infection and lung complications, including rattling sounds when breathing, a need for supplemental oxygen, abnormal chest X-rays showing pneumonia, or the need for a mechanical ventilator. All patients will receive remdesivir intravenously for up to 10 days. Half of the patients will also be given baricitinib by mouth, with the remaining half receiving an identical placebo, both for up to 14 days.

Remdesivir was developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc. Baricitinib was developed by Eli Lilly and Company.
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About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York's premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 11 hospitals, including the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and more than 200 outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information please visit http://www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter and view us on Facebook and YouTube

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About Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2019-20 academic year, Einstein is home to 724 M.D. students, 158 Ph.D. students, 106 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 265 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,800 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates . In 2019, Einstein received more than $178 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit http://www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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