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Peginterferon Lambda Accelerates SARS-CoV-2 Decline in Outpatients

Last Updated: February 09, 2021.

TUESDAY, Feb. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For outpatients with COVID-19, peginterferon lambda accelerates viral decline, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Jordan J. Feld, M.D., from the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial involving outpatients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Participants were randomly assigned to either a single subcutaneous injection of peginterferon lambda or placebo in a 1:1 ratio (30 patients per group).

The researchers found that from day 3 onward, the decline in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA was greater for those treated with peginterferon lambda than placebo, with a difference of 2.42 log copies/mL at day 7 (P = 0.0041). By day 7, 80 and 63 percent of participants in the peginterferon lambda and placebo groups, respectively, had an undetectable viral load (P = 0.15). Patients in the peginterferon lambda group were significantly more likely to have undetectable viral load by day 7 after controlling for baseline viral load (odds ratio, 4.12; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.15 to 16.73; P = 0.029). Overall, 79 and 38 percent of those with baseline viral load greater than 106 copies/mL had undetectable virus on day 7 in the peginterferon lambda and placebo groups, respectively (odds ratio, 6.25; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.49 to 31.06; P = 0.012).

"This treatment might have potential to avert clinical deterioration, shorten the duration of infectiousness, and reduce isolation time, with substantial public health and societal effects," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, which supplied the study medication.

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