COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

COVID-19 Evidence Alerts needs your support. If our service is of value to you, please consider donating to keep it going. Learn more Donate now

Treatment Khamis F, Al Naabi H, Al Lawati A, et al. Randomized controlled open label trial on the use of favipiravir combined with inhaled interferon beta-1b in hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;102:538-543. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.11.008. Epub 2020 Nov 9.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of favipiravir combined with inhaled interferon beta-1b in adult patients hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

METHODS: A randomized, open-label controlled trial of oral favipiravir in adults hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia from June 22nd 2020 to August 13th 2020 was conducted. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a combination of favipiravir with interferon beta-1b by inhalation aerosol or hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). The outcome endpoints included improvement in inflammatory markers, lower length of hospital stay (LOS), discharges and lower overall 14-day mortality.

RESULTS: A total of 89 patients underwent randomization with 49% (n = 44) assigned to favipiravir and 51% (n = 45) assigned HCQ. The overall mean age was 55 ± 14 years and 58% (n = 52) were males. There were no significant differences in the inflammatory biomarkers at hospital discharge between the two groups; C-reactive protein (p = 0.413), ferritin (p = 0.968), lactate dehydrogenase (p = 0.259) and interleukin 6 (p = 0.410). There were also no significant differences between the two groups with regards to the overall LOS (7 vs 7 days; p = 0.948), transfers to the ICU (18.2% vs 17.8%; p = 0.960), discharges (65.9% vs 68.9%; p = 0.764) and overall mortality (11.4% vs 13.3%; p = 0.778).

CONCLUSIONS: No differences in clinical outcomes were found between favipiravir plus inhaled interferon beta-1b and hydroxychloroquine in adults hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Infectious Disease
Intensivist/Critical Care
Comments from MORE raters

Infectious Disease rater

There was no control group receiving placebo or standard therapy, so it is very difficult to know what, if any, benefit either had - just that they had similar value (or lack of value).

Respirology/Pulmonology rater

Small study, but adding to the growing literature of limited meaningful therapeutic options for COVID-19 pneumonia.