Nav: Home

Aetion statement on UCSF-led study to inform drug development for COVID-19, future pandemics

October 15, 2020

NEW YORK, October 15, 2020 -- Aetion co-authored a study published today in Science, which examined lethal coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and MERS-CoV to identify molecular characteristics of potential treatments. The study, which was led by the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF and involved nearly 200 researchers from leading institutions, applied a novel approach to evaluate molecular hypotheses by analyzing real-world data from COVID-19 patients.

Aetion researchers ran analyses on Real-Time Insights and Evidence, an instance of the Aetion Evidence Platform® with real-time health care data designed to generate evidence on prospective treatments for COVID-19.

Jeremy Rassen, Sc.D., Aetion co-founder, president, and chief science officer and one of the study's authors, made the following statement:

"These results demonstrate the value of using real-world data on COVID-19 to evaluate molecular hypotheses generated in the lab, and represent a new pathway for the use of real-world evidence to support the drug development process. While these findings are based on limited use of these medications in patients with COVID-19, we can further validate the findings with real-world or randomized evidence.

"The reach and severity of COVID-19 has created extreme urgency as researchers work to identify potential therapies and vaccines. Using near real-time healthcare data, we were able to efficiently and rigorously screen prospective interventions for COVID-19, accelerating time to insights from months to a matter of weeks. As COVID-19 treatment candidates emerge, real-world evidence -- properly generated -- has an important role in complementing clinical trials with real-world insights on usage, safety, and effectiveness across the drug lifecycle."

The team of global researchers started with lab-driven hypotheses that suggested certain medications -- those that block the coronavirus's interaction with the enzyme PGES-2 or sigma receptor 1 -- may inhibit viral replication in vivo. To evaluate whether these molecular actions reduced the severity of COVID-19 in clinical settings, Aetion identified nearly 740,000 U.S. COVID-19 patients who shortly after diagnosis began treatment with one of the potential therapies. Aetion researchers assessed whether COVID-19 severity was decreased in these patients as compared to those treated with medications without the hypothesized antiviral properties.

Aetion's analyses showed:

  1. COVID-19-positive new users of indomethacin, a marketed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that inhibits the enzyme PGES-2, appeared substantially less likely to require hospitalization or inpatient services than matched new users of celecoxib, an NSAID that does not target PGES-2; and,
  2. Hospitalized COVID-19-positive new users of typical antipsychotics that have activity against the sigma receptor 1 protein (such as haloperidol, chlorpromazine) were over 50% less likely to require mechanical ventilation as compared to matched new users of atypical antipsychotics (such as quetiapine, olanzapine).
Aetion has been a leader in advancing the understanding of and response to COVID-19 since early in the pandemic. The company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through a research collaboration agreement and is an active participant in the COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator, a collaboration organized by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA and Friends of Cancer Research.

About Aetion

Aetion is a health care analytics company that delivers real-world evidence for the manufacturers, purchasers, and regulators of medical technologies. The Aetion Evidence Platform® analyzes data from the real world to produce transparent, rapid, and scientifically validated answers on safety, effectiveness, and value, across the product life cycle. Founded by Harvard Medical School faculty members with decades of experience in epidemiology and health outcomes research, Aetion informs health care's most critical decisions -- what works best, for whom, and when -- to guide product development, commercialization, and payment innovation.

Aetion is based in New York City, and backed by investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Flare Capital Partners, Lakestar, Greenspring Associates, Town Hall Ventures, McKesson Ventures, Sanofi Ventures, EDBI, Amgen Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation -- JJDC, Inc., UCB, and Horizon Health Services, Inc. Learn more at and follow us at @aetioninc.


Related Medications Articles:

Cancer patients less likely to be prescribed cardioprotective medications
As cancer survivor rates increase with modern treatments, cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates are rising in cancer patients and survivors and CVD has emerged as a leading cause of long-term preventable death in this population.
Lupus patients who take their medications lower their diabetes risk
Patients with lupus who take their medications as prescribed have much lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a common complication of the disease, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia.
Antidepressant medications appear to be generally safe
Antidepressants are generally safe, according to a new study by an international team of researchers.
Best medications to reduce drooling for those with developmental disability
A new study has revealed the most effective medications to reduce drooling in young people with a developmental disability, which can affect their socialisation, relationships and community life.
Opioid treatment for teens? Medications can help
Teens who misuse prescription or illicit opioids might benefit from opioid treatment medications, according to a new study led by a Yale researcher.
The technology behind Bitcoin may improve the medications of the future
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have developed a prototype of an app that may potentially prescribe the optimal dose of medicine for the individual patient, as well as prevent counterfeit products.
Diabetes medications masking surgical complication
A new class of diabetes medications is masking the potentially dangerous condition of ketoacidosis at the time of surgery.
Cannabidiol could help deliver medications to the brain
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, is being touted as beneficial for many health conditions, ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
Medications could fill treatment gap for adolescents with obesity
Twelve independent pediatric obesity medicine and surgery specialists, led by experts at Boston Medical Center, outline an urgent need for evidence-based guidance on the use of obesity pharmacotherapy for adolescents in the Obesity research journal.
Overprescribing of antidepressant medications may be common in elderly patients
In a Pharmacology Research & Perspectives study of individuals living in Olmsted County, Minnesota from 2005-2012, potential overprescribing of antidepressant medications occurred in nearly one-quarter of elderly residents.
More Medications News and Medications Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Sound And Silence
Sound surrounds us, from cacophony even to silence. But depending on how we hear, the world can be a different auditory experience for each of us. This hour, TED speakers explore the science of sound. Guests on the show include NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly, neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth, writer Rebecca Knill, and sound designer Dallas Taylor.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer
With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful beings, issuing momentous rulings from on high. But they haven't always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, started it all.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at