Is the anti–interleukin-1β antibody canakinumab effective to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and hyperinflammation?
This randomized clinical trial included 454 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) and with elevated C-reactive protein or ferritin levels. Treatment with intravenous canakinumab vs placebo resulted in survival without IMV at 29 days of 88.8% vs 85.7%, a difference that was not statistically significant.
Among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, treatment with canakinumab, compared with placebo, did not significantly increase the likelihood of survival without IMV.
Effective treatments for patients with severe COVID-19 are needed.
To evaluate the efficacy of canakinumab, an anti–interleukin-1β antibody, in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial was conducted at 39 hospitals in Europe and the United States. A total of 454 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, hypoxia (not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV]), and systemic hyperinflammation defined by increased blood concentrations of C-reactive protein or ferritin were enrolled between April 30 and August 17, 2020, with the last assessment of the primary end point on September 22, 2020.
Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive a single intravenous infusion of canakinumab (450 mg for body weight of 40-<60 kg, 600 mg for 60-80 kg, and 750 mg for >80 kg; n = 227) or placebo (n = 227).
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was survival without IMV from day 3 to day 29. Secondary outcomes were COVID-19–related mortality, measurements of biomarkers of systemic hyperinflammation, and safety evaluations.
Among 454 patients who were randomized (median age, 59 years; 187 women [41.2%]), 417 (91.9%) completed day 29 of the trial. Between days 3 and 29, 198 of 223 patients (88.8%) survived without requiring IMV in the canakinumab group and 191 of 223 (85.7%) in the placebo group, with a rate difference of 3.1% (95% CI, −3.1% to 9.3%) and an odds ratio of 1.39 (95% CI, 0.76 to 2.54; P = .29). COVID-19–related mortality occurred in 11 of 223 patients (4.9%) in the canakinumab group vs 16 of 222 (7.2%) in the placebo group, with a rate difference of −2.3% (95% CI, −6.7% to 2.2%) and an odds ratio of 0.67 (95% CI, 0.30 to 1.50). Serious adverse events were observed in 36 of 225 patients (16%) treated with canakinumab vs 46 of 223 (20.6%) who received placebo.
Conclusions and Relevance
Among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, treatment with canakinumab, compared with placebo, did not significantly increase the likelihood of survival without IMV at day 29.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04362813
Caricchio R, Abbate A, Gordeev I, et al. Effect of Canakinumab vs Placebo on Survival Without Invasive Mechanical Ventilation in Patients Hospitalized With Severe COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;326(3):230–239. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.9508
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