BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 11;21(1):47. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-05730-z.
BACKGROUND: The spread of a highly pathogenic, novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged as a once-in-a-century pandemic, having already infected over 63 million people worldwide. Novel therapies are urgently needed. Janus kinase-inhibitors and Type I interferons have emerged as potential antiviral candidates for COVID-19 patients due to their proven efficacy against diseases with excessive cytokine release and their direct antiviral ability against viruses including coronaviruses, respectively.
METHODS: A search of MEDLINE and MedRxiv was conducted by three investigators from inception until July 30th 2020 and included any study type that compared treatment outcomes of humans treated with Janus kinase-inhibitor or Type I interferon against controls. Inclusion necessitated data with clearly indicated risk estimates or those that permitted their back-calculation. Outcomes were synthesized using RevMan.
RESULTS: Of 733 searched studies, we included four randomized and eleven non-randomized trials. Five of the studies were unpublished. Those who received Janus kinase-inhibitor had significantly reduced odds of mortality (OR, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.03-0.39, p< 0.001) and ICU admission (OR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.01-0.26, p< 0.001), and had significantly increased odds of hospital discharge (OR, 22.76; 95% CI, 10.68-48.54, p< 0.00001) when compared to standard treatment group. Type I interferon recipients had significantly reduced odds of mortality (OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.85, p< 0.05), and increased odds of discharge bordering significance (OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.00-3.59, p=0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Janus kinase-inhibitor treatment is significantly associated with positive clinical outcomes in terms of mortality, ICU admission, and discharge. Type I interferon treatment is associated with positive clinical outcomes in regard to mortality and discharge. While these data show promise, additional well-conducted RCTs are needed to further elucidate the relationship between clinical outcomes and Janus kinase-inhibitors and Type I interferons in COVID-19 patients.