Comparative therapeutic efficacy of interferon alfa-2b and combination lopinavir/ritonavir plus interferon alfa-2b against SARS-CoV-2

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Background: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) posed an enormous threat to public health. The use of antiviral drugs in patients with this disease have triggered people’s attentions. Whether interferon alfa-2b or lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) plus interferon alfa-2b treatment can against SARS-CoV-2 was unknown. The objectives of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of interferon alfa-2b and LPV/r plus interferon alfa-2b for SARS-CoV-2 infection in adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of 123 patients confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection by PCR on nasopharyngeal swab and symptoms between Jan. 13 and Apr. 23, 2020. All patients received standard supportive care and regular clinical monitoring. Patients were assigned to standard care group (n = 12), interferon alfa-2b group (n = 44), and combination LPV/r plus interferon alfa-2b group (n = 67). The primary endpoints were duration of required oxygen support and virus clearance time. Associations between therapies and these outcomes were assessed by Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: Baseline clinical characteristics were not significantly different among the three groups (P > 0.05). No significant associations were observed between LPV/r/interferon alfa-2b and faster SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance (HR, 0.85 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45–1.61]; P = 0.61 in interferon alfa-2b group vs HR, 0.59 [95% CI 0.32–1.11]; P = 0.10 in LPV/r plus interferon alfa-2b group). Individual therapy groups also showed no significant association with duration of required oxygen support. There were no significant differences among the three groups in the incidence of adverse events (P > 0.05). Conclusions: In patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, no benefit was observed from interferon alfa-2b or LPV/r plus interferon alfa-2b treatment. The findings may provide references for treatment guidelines of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.




Liu, J., Du, C., Pu, L., Xiang, P., Xiong, H., Xie, W., … Li, A. (2021). Comparative therapeutic efficacy of interferon alfa-2b and combination lopinavir/ritonavir plus interferon alfa-2b against SARS-CoV-2. BMC Infectious Diseases, 21(1).

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