Arthritis drug helps fight COVID-19

Linda Brent, PhD

Executive Director, Parsemus Foundation

Doctor and senior man wearing medical masks

A medication called baricitinib (brand name Olumiant), which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, reduces the risk of death by 13% in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are also taking standard treatments such as dexamethasone, according to a draft research paper. The paper’s authors are among the investigators involved in the Recovery Clinical Trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of COVID-19 treatments, which is based in the U.K.

Previously, the Recovery Trial reported that dexamethasone was found to reduce deaths by one third, and that a medication called tocilizumab also reduced deaths when used in conjunction with dexamethasone.

The Recovery Trial has enrolled over 47,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Trial results help to identify existing medications that can be used to treat COVID-19 infection, and provide options when new variants arise. They also help identify which drugs are not effective against COVID-19, such as aspirin and hydroxychloroquine.

See a report about the new findings at

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