The Briefing provides an at-a-glance view of some important developments in the information universe surrounding COVID-19. The views presented here are solely those of ECRI Horizon Scanning and have not been vetted by other stakeholders.

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On April 19, everyone in the United States older than age 16 became eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Although it is still early, there are signs that younger people are less likely to be vaccinated.

This is prompting incentive programs in at least one state and speculation that COVID-19 could become a young adult’s disease. Already, states like Michigan are reporting shifting demographics in hospital wards.

Across the nation, there are still more than 30 000 hospitalized patients and a need for better treatments (see Topics to Watch). The debate also continues about whether children need to be vaccinated to further suppress COVID-19.

Fostamatinib (Tavalisse) to Treat Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 

At a Glance

  • Fostamatinib (Tavalisse) is an orally administered spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor being investigated for treating adults hospitalized with COVID-19. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for treating chronic immune thrombocytopenia.
  • By inhibiting SYK, fostamatinib inhibits mediators of proinflammatory cytokine release and hypercoagulability thought to contribute to the COVID-19 disease course.
  • Preliminary data from a phase 2 trial that enrolled 59 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 and treated with standard care found that the addition of fostamatinib significantly reduced serious adverse events, the median number of days in the intensive care unit (ICU), and death rates, compared with those outcomes in patients given placebo.    
  • Fostamatinib is in a phase 3 trial, with primary completion expected in August 2021. The manufacturer announced plans to pursue emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.
  • Based on clinical-trial dosing and fostamatinib pricing information, a course of fostamatinib to treat COVID-19 is estimated to cost $5760.

VERU-111 to Treat Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 at High Risk of Developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

At a Glance

  • VERU-111 is an investigational, orally administered, small-molecule drug. It is being developed to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who have underlying health conditions that place them at high risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • VERU-111 is an alpha- and beta-tubulin inhibitor and microtubule disruptor with purported antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Data reported from a phase 2 clinical trial enrolling 38 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 who were at high risk of developing ARDS found that by day 29 after treatment, VERU-111 reduced the risk of death or respiratory failure by 81%.
  • Participants who received VERU-111 also demonstrated significant reductions in time spent in the intensive care unit (ICU; 3.00 vs 9.55 days in the placebo group) and on mechanical ventilation (1.6 vs 5.4 days).

Commentary in this COVID-19 Scan reflects preliminary views of ECRI Horizon Scanning and internal ECRI stakeholders.
The information contained in this document has not been vetted by other stakeholders.

We welcome your comments on this Scan. Send them by email to [email protected].

Posted: May 5, 2021

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