Effect of combination antiviral therapy on hematological profiles in 151 adults hospitalized with severe coronavirus disease 2019

Pharmacol Res. 2020 Jun 18;160:105036. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105036. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: The current diagnosis and medicines approach in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) does not reflect the heterogeneous characteristics of this disease. This study aims to find a new antiviral combination regimen by investigating the frequency of clinically relevant and objectively identified comorbidities, and the clustering of these clinical syndromes and varying results of treatment with antiviral drugs in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.

Methods: This study recruited 151 severe COVID-19 infection cases diagnosed in our hospital examination and illustrated the clinical potential during a consecutive 25-day medication period. Potential differences in disease severity and clinical characteristics, hematological profile, and current pharmacologic treatments (single agent, double or triple combinations, and the combined antiviral drugs plus Lianhua Qingwen) among comorbidity clusters were explored.

Results: Although disease severity was comparable among three clusters, it was markedly different in terms of laboratory test status. Coagulable abnormality was mainly present in cluster 1 and cluster 2. Other indicators were normal, except for a significant increase of neutrophils presented in cluster 2. Patients showed the most complicated haematological results in cluster 3, including severe coagulation abnormalities, leukocytosis, neutrophilic granulocytosis, and lymphopenia. Our results for the first time suggest that a quadruple combination therapy (Ribavirin, Lopinavir/ritonavir, Umifenovir, and Lianhua Qingwen) can be considered as a preferred treatment approach to severe COVID-19 patients. After treatment, abnormal coagulation and leukocyte had markedly improved with a better prognosis.

Conclusion: This study expands the understanding of the co-occurrence of combination therapy in patients with COVID-19, which provides the probability of developing novel combined therapy. Furthermore, explore clinical trials of variable antivirus treatments based on subgroup analyses or on using subgroups in the selection criteria would be the next step.

Keywords: Lopinavir/ritonavir and Lianhua Qingwen; Lymphopenia; Ribavirin; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; Umifenovir.