A Novel Protein Drug, Novaferon, as the Potential Antiviral Drug for COVID-19
Posted 29 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.24.20077735
Posted 29 Apr 2020
Abstract Background Novaferon, a novel protein drug approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B in China, exhibits potent antiviral activities. We aimed to determine the anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects of Novaferon in vitro, and conducted a randomized, open-label, parallel group study to explore the antiviral effects of Novaferon for COVID-19. Methods In laboratory, the inhibition of Novaferon on viral replication in cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, and on SARS-CoV-2 entry into healthy cells was determined. Antiviral effects of Novaferon were evaluated in COVID-19 patients with treatment of Novaferon, Novaferon plus Lopinavir/Ritonavir, or Lopinavir/Ritonavir. The primary endpoint was the SARS-CoV-2 clearance rates on day 6 of treatment, and the secondary endpoint was the time to the SARS-CoV-2 clearance in COVID-19 patients Results Novaferon inhibited the viral replication in infected cells (EC50=1.02 ng/ml), and protected healthy cells from SARS-CoV-2 infection (EC50=0.1 ng/ml). Results from the 89 enrolled COVID-19 patients showed that both Novaferon and Novaferon plus Lopinavir/Ritonavir groups had significantly higher SARS-CoV-2 clearance rates on day 6 than the Lopinavir/Ritonavir group (50.0% vs.24.1%, p = 0.0400, and 60.0% vs.24.1%, p = 0.0053). Median time to SARS-CoV-2 clearance were 6 days, 6 days, and 9 days for three groups respectively, suggesting a 3-dayreduction of time to SARS-CoV-2 clearance in both Novaferon and Novaferon plus Lopinavir/Ritonavir groups compared with Lopinavir/Ritonavir group. Conclusions Novaferon exhibited anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in vitro and in COVID-19 patients. These data justified the further evaluation of Novaferon. Key words: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Novaferon, Antiviral drug, Lopinavir/Ritonavir
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