Drug companies worldwide are testing existing medicines as potential treatments for COVID-19—plus working on new therapeutics—with few answers yet. Now, Eli Lilly is among the latest to kick off a trial through a partnership with federal health officials.
In conjunction with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Eli Lilly is planning to test rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study is starting this month in the U.S., and investigators eventually plan to expand testing to Europe and Asia.
The drug’s “anti-inflammatory activity” might hold a benefit for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, Lilly said in a statement. The project started in February when Benevolent AI, a U.K. artificial intelligence group, identified Lilly’s barticitinib as a possible COVID-19 treatment not only for its anti-inflammatory effects, but also an antiviral effect, Lilly Bio-Medicines president Patrik Jonsson told FiercePharma