Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug helps recovery in coronavirus patients

An Eli Lilly & Co. logo is seen on the cap of a pill bottle in this arranged photograph at a pharmacy in Princeton, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Eli Lilly said on Monday its rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib shortened the time taken to recover from Covid-19 in hospitalized patients when taken in combination with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral remdesivir.

Lilly said the drug, which is branded as Olumiant, in combination remdesivir showed a roughly one-day reduction in median recovery time versus patients treated with remdesivir alone.

Based on the results from the trial, which tested more than 1,000 patients, Lilly said it plans to discuss the potential for an emergency use authorization (EUA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Remdesivir is at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 after the drug was granted an EUA in May after trial data showed the antiviral drug helped shorten hospital recovery time.

The drug, which has been licensed by Lilly from Incyte, could potentially help suppress a potentially lethal immune response to Covid-19 called “cytokine storm.”

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