DataSheet1_Efficacy and Safety of Leflunomide for Refractory COVID-19: A Pilot Study.docx (8.6 MB)
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DataSheet1_Efficacy and Safety of Leflunomide for Refractory COVID-19: A Pilot Study.docx

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posted on 02.07.2021, 04:51 authored by Qiang Wang, Haipeng Guo, Yu Li, Xiangdong Jian, Xinguo Hou, Ning Zhong, Jianchun Fei, Dezhen Su, Zhouyan Bian, Yi Zhang, Yingying Hu, Yan Sun, Xueyuan Yu, Yuan Li, Bei Jiang, Yan Li, Fengping Qin, Yingying Wu, Yanxia Gao, Zhao Hu

Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may persist in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) despite receiving standard care.

Methods: In this pilot study of hospitalized adult patients (≥18 years of age), with radiologically confirmed pneumonia who were SARS-CoV-2 positive for more than 28 days despite standard care, were assigned to receive standard of care (SOC, grp I) or leflunomide + SOC (grp 2). After 2 weeks, grp 1 and grp 2 patients who continued to be SARS-CoV-2-positive received leflunomide for 14 days while continuing SOC. The primary outcomes were the rate of and time to SARS-CoV-2 clearance and the 14-day and 30-day hospital discharge rate.

Results: 12 patients were enrolled in grp 1 and 15 patients were in grp 2. The 14 days SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance rate was 80.0% (12/15) for grp 2 patients receiving leflunomide vs. 16.7% for grp 1 patients (2/12) (p = 0.002). By day 14, the median time to SARS-CoV-2 clearance was 6.0 days (range 1–12, IQR 1–12) for grp 2 patients. In grp 1, two patients converted to viral negative on days 1 and 6 (p = 0.002). The 14-day discharge rate was 73.3% (11/15) for the grp 2 vs. 8.3% (1/12) for grp 1 (p = 0.001). The 30 days discharge rate was 100% (15/15) for the grp 2 vs. 66.7% (8/12) for grp 1. No severe adverse events or deaths were reported.

Conclusion: Leflunomide may improve the SARS-CoV-2 clearance rate and discharge rate in patients with refractory COVID-19. The tolerability of the 14–28 days course of treatment with leflunomide is acceptable. These preliminary observations need to be verified by a large sample size and randomized controlled trial.