CADTH COVID News identifies emerging information on health technologies being investigated for the management or prevention of COVID-19.  The intent is to provide a quick alert of a news item of interest and is only current as of posting. As research is rapidly evolving, CADTH will monitor these topics and update information as needed.


Updated on July 30, 2020 | 4:37pm

Remdesivir

Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that is the first drug approved by Health Canada for COVID-19. This decision was issued on July 27, 2020 and is an authorization with conditions to prescribe remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients with pneumonia who require oxygen therapy. CADTH assessed four randomized controlled trials as part of a health technology review on remdesivir and will continue to monitor the emerging evidence related to remdesivir in COVID-19.


Updated on July 27, 2020 | 1:30pm

Favipiravir

Favipiravir is an oral antiviral drug that has emerged as a potential treatment or prevention option for COVID-19. An international expert panel issued a weak recommendation for not using favipiravir in patients with non-severe or severe COVID-19 because of low-quality evidence. Researchers in Canada plan to conduct a randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of favipiravir compared with placebo for adults living in long-term care homes focused on controlling COVID-19 outbreaks (NCT04448119). Favipiravir is not approved in Canada and is not currently accessible outside of clinical trials. CADTH will continue to monitor emerging evidence related to antiviral agents in COVID-19.

Sarilumab

Sarilumab is an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist indicated for rheumatoid arthritis in Canada and has been identified as a potential option to treat COVID-19. On July 2, 2020, the phase III cohort 2 (NCT04315298) of patients with COVID-19 that required mechanical ventilation failed to meet primary and key secondary end points and the trial was stopped. There are ongoing randomized controlled trials investigating sarilumab monotherapy versus placebo or standard of care for the treatment of COVID-19. CADTH will continue to monitor emerging evidence related to interleukin-6 receptor antagonists in COVID-19.

Tocilizumab

Tocilizumab, an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist, is indicated for cytokine release syndrome and for various rheumatological disorders in Canada. A phase III international trial, COVACTA (including Canadian sites) is under way investigating tocilizumab compared to placebo in patients with COVID-19 (NCT04320615). Randomized controlled trials are ongoing and CADTH will continue to monitor the emerging evidence related to interleukin-6 receptor antagonists in COVID-19.

Lopinavir-Ritonavir

The co-formulation of lopinavir-ritonavir is an antiretroviral drug indicated for the treatment of HIV-1 in Canada. There are published and ongoing randomized controlled trials investigating lopinavir-ritonavir to potentially manage COVID-19. On June 29, 2020, the RECOVERY study Steering Committee discontinued randomization in the lopinavir-ritonavir treatment arm based on no benefit. On July 4, 2020, the Solidarity Trial established by WHO discontinued the lopinavir-ritonavir treatment arm due to a lack of efficacy. CADTH will continue to monitor emerging evidence related to antiretroviral drugs in COVID-19.

Dexamethasone

On July 17, 2020, the preliminary results of the RECOVERY study were published comparing dexamethasone plus usual standard of care with usual standard of care alone. The RECOVERY study is a large, ongoing, multi-centre, open-label, randomized controlled trial investigating several treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. CADTH has conducted a critical appraisal of the published results and will continue to monitor the emerging evidence related to systemic corticosteroids in managing COVID-19.