Perelson Studies Effects of Antiviral Drugs on COVID-19

Perelson Studies Effects of Antiviral Drugs on COVID-19

Alan S. Perelson, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist and New Mexico Consortium affiliate, and colleagues recently published their work, Detection of significant antiviral drug effects on COVID-19 with reasonable sample sizes in randomized controlled trials: A modeling study in PLOS.

It is a global health priority to develop an effective antiviral drug for the treatment of COVID-19. Many drugs are being developed and studied, but the clinical trials do not show good evidence on how effective they are. Perelson and colleagues note most clinical trials have failed to observe a statistically significant effect. This could be due to poor designs of clinical trials. Thus, the authors of this paper decided to conduct an investigation on how clinical trials for antivirals need to be designed.In this work the scientists conducted a modeling study in an effort to understand the reasons why previous clinical trial findings have been inconsistent and to help design better trials. COVID-19 virus dynamics were quantified by fitting a virus dynamic model to longitudinal viral load data. The analysis of viral loads revealed three distinct groups characterized by different virus decay rates. This could be a confounding factor in past observational studies

The main conclusion from this study show that when conducting a clinical trial for antivirals, one should recruit patients as early as possible at the first onset of symptoms in order to get statistically significant results. This may have been the first study investigating the study design of clinical trials for antiviral treatment using the viral dynamics model.

 

Top image is a figure from the publication. Schematic illustration for the simulation mimicking randomized controlled trials for antiviral drugs.