Randomized controlled trial of favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, and standard care in patients with mild/moderate COVID-19 disease.
Favipiravir has antiviral activity against influenza, West Nile virus, and yellow fever virus and against flaviviruses. The objective of this pilot study was to compare three arms: favipiravir; hydroxychloroquine; standard care (no specific SARS-CoV-2 treatment) only, in symptomatic patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 in an open-labelled randomized clinical trial. The trial was registered with Bahrain National Taskforce for Combatting COVID-19 on the 7th of May 2020 (registration code: NCT04387760). 150 symptomatic patients with COVID-19 disease were randomized into one of three arms: favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, or standard care only. The primary outcome was the clinical scale at the end of study follow up (day 14 or on discharge/death) based on a points scale. The secondary outcomes were viral clearance, biochemical parameter changes and mortality at 30-days. Baseline characteristics did not differ between groups. The proportion of patients who achieved a clinical scale < 2 did not differ between groups. The favipiravir-treated and hydroxychloroquine-treated group showed increased viral clearance (OR, 95%CI 2.38, 0.83-6.78, OR, 95%CI 2.15, 0.78-5.92, respectively) compared to standard care, but this was not significant. The biochemical profile did not differ between groups, except for the platelet count (P < 0.03) and uric acid (P < 0.004) that were higher with favipiravir-treatment. Primary or secondary outcome measures did not differ between favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, and standard therapy for mild to moderate COVID-19 disease; therefore, whilst favipiravir therapy appeared safe with a trend to increased viral clearance, there was no superior therapeutic utility.Clinical trials registration. NCT04387760. Registration date: 07/05/2020.