Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of the Existing Repurposed Pharmacological Agents for Treating COVID-19: A Meta-analysis and Systematic Review of Clinical Trials

JOURNAL TITLE: Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine

1. Rudrashish Haldar
2. Hillol Sarkar
3. Saurabh K Das
4. Resma Tewari
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
    1. Department of Critical Care, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, Haryana, India
    1. Department of Anaesthesiology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
    1. Department of Medicine, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital, Joti Gaon, Assam, India
    1. Department of Critical Care, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, Haryana, India
  • Article keywords


    Purpose: The present study systematically searched important medical databases, assessed the quality of available pieces of evidence, and performed a meta-analysis to test the efficacy of different therapeutic options currently available for treating COVID-19. Materials and methods: PubMed, CNKI, LILACS, Koreamed, WHO clinical trial registry, and medRxiv were searched since December 2019. Any observational or controlled study that tested the efficacy of any pharmacological intervention in COVID-19 patients either prospectively or retrospectively was included in the qualitative analysis. We assessed outcomes as dichotomous variables, i.e., a patient having a positive clinical outcome. Relative risks/risk ratios (RR) having a 95% confidence interval (CI) were derived. Studies conforming to inclusion criteria were pooled using the random-effect model. Results: Nine trials on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), six studies on antiviral, four studies on monoclonal antibodies, two on corticosteroids, two on convalescent plasma (CP), and one on interferon-α2b were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis containing six scientific trials and analyzing 522 patients revealed that the relative risk of positive clinical outcomes with HCQ treatment was 1.042 (95% CI, 0.884 to 1.874) with a number needed to treat (NNT) of 12.6. A meta-analysis of two studies analyzing 285 patients showed that the relative risk of clinical resolution with lopinavir and ritonavir combination was 1.152 (95% CI 0.709 to 1.87). Out of various antiviral used, the only remdesivir showed a positive result in a case series. Monoclonal antibodies showed decreased C-reactive protein, decreased oxygen, and ventilator requirements. A corticosteroid may increase mortality with increased dose. Two small case series on CP showed some promising results. Conclusion: The study showed slightly favorable results with HCQ, monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir, and CP in treating COVID-19 patients. Further research is warranted in establishing the efficacy of studied interventions. PROSPERO identifier: CRD42020180979

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