CounterCOVID study shows imatinib significantly reduces mortality by 49% in patients with COVID-19

Results published on Friday 18 June in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine show that oral imatinib, currently used to treat cancers, reduces mortality by 49% in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The results of the world-first trial, led by VUmc, Amsterdam, could signify another option in the management of COVID-19 to protect lives

 The publication of the CounterCOVID study results in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine show that oral imatinib significantly reduces COVID-19 mortality. The randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled, clinical trial evaluated oral imatinib in 385 patients with severe COVID-19 and was conducted across 13 hospitals in the Netherlands. The study was run by the Vrije Universiteit medical center (VUmc) in Amsterdam and part-funded by the European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative 2, awarded to a consortium coordinated by Exvastat.

The CounterCOVID study is the first randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial assessing the efficacy and safety of imatinib in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring supplemental oxygen. A statistically and clinically significant 49% reduction in 28-day mortality was observed in patients receiving imatinib compared with patients receiving placebo; similar percentage reductions in duration of mechanical ventilation and days in ICU were reported, and also statistically significant. There were fewer adverse events of Grade III or IV severity in the imatinib group than in the placebo group.

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