Yale University launched a clinical trial of ibudilast (MN-166) to assess it as a treatment for COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a cause of death in COVID-19 patients. The drug has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects and suppresses the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It has approval in Japan for the treatment of asthma, and has been shown in mouse models to decrease inflammation related to ARDS.
Other drugs being tested for treating ARDS in COVID-19 include: Abbvie’s ibrutinib, Chugai Pharmaceutical’s Tocilizumab, Eli Lilly’s baricitinib and Mesoblast’s remestemcel-L with global sales of $5,583, $2,208, $203 and $18m, respectively.
Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Focusing on developing treatments for ARDS in COVID-19 patients could decrease the mortality of the virus. It is estimated that ventilated patients have a 20–50% survival rate, which rises to a mortality rate of 80% for those who develop ARDS. Reducing the development of ARDS would reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and put less stress on hospitals and ventilators, as well as increase the survival rate of patients who would progress to the severe form of the illness.”
The placebo-controlled clinical trial by Yale University partnered with MediciNova hopes to show that blocking the effects of MIF will protect COVID-19 patients from developing ARDS. The researchers also hope to soon receive FDA approval for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia, for which the drug is in discovery stage for treatment. Treating pneumonia would help prevent progression to the severe form of respiratory distress, which requires mechanical ventilation.