FDA approves COVID-19 drug combination tested by UT Health SA, University Health

Remdesivir combined with baricitinib has shown to reduce recovery time for COVID-19 patients

FILE - In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the company says its experimental antiviral drug has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test. (Gilead Sciences via AP) (Uncredited, Gilead Sciences)

SAN ANTONIO – The FDA has given emergency use approval of a new drug combination for hospitalized COVID-19 patients that was tested in clinical trials in San Antonio.

The promising new COVID-19 treatment includes combining the FDA-approved drug, Remdesivir, with inflammatory oral drug baricitinib for patients that need supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation or ECMO, according to health officials.

The drug combination was tested in clinical trials in San Antonio by UT Health San Antonio and its clinical partner, University Health. This treatment will be available to hospitalized adults and children two years of age or older.

During clinical trials, the drug combination was “shown to reduce time to recovery within 29 days after initiating treatment compared to patients who received a placebo with remdesivir,” FDA officials said in a statement. However, health professionals are still monitoring the safety and effectiveness of the new drug combination.

Baricitinib is a prescription oral tablet that is FDA-approved and is sold under the brand name Olumiant, according to the FDA. The anti-inflammatory drug is typically used to treat moderate and severe rheumatoid arthritis and has not been approved as a standalone treatment for the coronavirus.

Remdesivir, which is also FDA-approved, is sold under the brand name Veklury and is an antiviral drug for adults and children that are 12-years-old or older if they are hospitalized with COVID-19.

To learn more about the newly-approved drug combination, visit the FDA’s website here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.