Umifenovir significantly decreased hospitalization time and contributed to laboratory improvements in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared with lopinavir/ritonavir, according to an open-label, randomized controlled trial published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Investigators recruited men and non-pregnant women with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 with an oxygen saturation of 94% or less. Investigators randomized patients (N=100) 1:1 to receive either hydroxychloroquine followed by lopinavir/ritonavir or hydroxychloroquine followed by umifenovir for 7 to 14 days. Participants were monitored daily for 30 days.

The primary outcome was hospitalization duration and clinical improvement, measured by cough, dyspnea, and fever 7 days after admission. Secondary outcomes included changes in laboratory values after 7 days, need for invasive mechanical ventilation, and death within the 30-day treatment period.


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For the primary outcome, hospitalization duration was significantly lower in the umifenovir group compared with the lopinavir/ritonavir group (7.2 vs 9.6 days; P =.02). However, 18.6% (n=8) of umifenovir patients required ICU admission vs 6.7% (n=3) of lopinavir/ritonavir patients. Improvements in fever, cough and dyspnea were similar across both groups.

For secondary outcomes, patients receiving umifenovir had significant improvements in oxygen saturation (P =.02), white blood cell count (P =.03), neutrophil count (P =.01), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P =.01), and serum potassium (P =.001) compared to the lopinavir/ritonavir group. Mortality rate and the need for mechanical ventilation were similar among both groups.

This study highlighted “the benefits of [umifenovir] monotherapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” the authors concluded. They were encouraged by the study’s findings, but suggested the need for further research on ARB for COVID-19 using larger sample sizes and multicenter design.

Reference

Nojomi M, Yassin Z, Keyvani H, et al. Effect of arbidol (umifenovir) on COVID-19: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Infect Dis. Published online December 14, 2020. doi:10.1186/s12879-020-05698-w