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Background:There is no generally accepted methodology for in vivo assessment of antiviral activity in SARS-CoV-2 infections. Ivermectin has been recommended widely as a treatment of COVID-19, but whether it has clinically significant antiviral activity in vivo is uncertain.Methods:In a multicentre open label, randomized, controlled adaptive platform trial, adult patients with early symptomatic COVID-19 were randomized to one of six treatment arms including high-dose oral ivermectin (600 µg/kg daily for 7 days), the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab (600 mg/600 mg), and no study drug. The primary outcome was the comparison of viral clearance rates in the modified intention-to-treat population. This was derived from daily log10 viral densities in standardized duplicate oropharyngeal swab eluates. This ongoing trial is registered at (NCT05041907).Results:Randomization to the ivermectin arm was stopped after enrolling 205 patients into all arms, as the prespecified futility threshold was reached. Following ivermectin, the mean estimated rate of SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance was 9.1% slower (95% confidence interval [CI] –27.2% to +11.8%; n=45) than in the no drug arm (n=41), whereas in a preliminary analysis of the casirivimab/imdevimab arm it was 52.3% faster (95% CI +7.0% to +115.1%; n=10 (Delta variant) vs. n=41).Conclusions:High-dose ivermectin did not have measurable antiviral activity in early symptomatic COVID-19. Pharmacometric evaluation of viral clearance rate from frequent serial oropharyngeal qPCR viral density estimates is a highly efficient and well-tolerated method of assessing SARS-CoV-2 antiviral therapeutics in vivo.Funding:‘Finding treatments for COVID-19: A phase 2 multi-centre adaptive platform trial to assess antiviral pharmacodynamics in early symptomatic COVID-19 (PLAT-COV)’ is supported by the Wellcome Trust Grant ref: 223195/Z/21/Z through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.Clinical trial number:NCT05041907.

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Journal article




eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd

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