Background: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) posed an enormous threat to public health. The use of antiviral drugs in patients with this disease have triggered people’s attentions. Whether interferon alfa-2b or Kaletra plus interferon alfa-2b treatment can against SARS-CoV-2 was unknown.
Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of 123 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients between Jan.13 2020 and Apr. 23. All patients received standard supportive care and regular clinical monitoring, patients were assigned to standard care group (n=12), interferon alfa-2b group (n=44), and combination Kaletra plus interferon alfa-2b group (n=67) according to their therapies. The primary endpoint for this study was the duration of oxygen-support requirement and virus clearance time. The associations of therapies with these outcomes were assessed by Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: Baseline clinical and laboratory characteristics were similar among 3 groups (p＞0.05). There was no significant association of Kaletra /interferon alfa-2b with faster SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance (HR, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.45–1.61]; P = 0.61 in interferon alfa-2b group vs HR, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.32–1.11]; P = 0.10 in Kaletra plus interferon alfa-2b group). The duration of oxygen-support requirement in therapy groups similarly showed no significant association. There were no differences among 3 groups in the incidence of adverse events (p＞0.05).
Conclusions: In patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, no benefit was observed with interferon alfa-2b and Kaletra plus interferon alfa-2b treatment beyond standard care. Further trials in appropriately randomized design may contribute to validate the effective role and safety profile of the test drugs.