Ribavirin Therapy For Severe COVID-19: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Jul 23;106114. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106114. Online ahead of print.


Background: We aimed to compare ribavirin therapy for patients with severe COVID-19 with a supportive therapy only.

Patients and methods: We retrospectively collected 115 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. All patients received supportive care and regular laboratory and clinical monitoring. We analyzed 44 patients who received intravenous ribavirin (treatment group) and 71 who did not (control group).

Results: Baseline laboratory and clinical characteristics were similar between groups, the negative conversion time for SARS-CoV2 test in ribavirin group was 12.8 ± 4.1 days compared with 14.1 ± 3.5 days in control group (P = 0.314). 7 (15.9%) of 44 patients in the ribavirin group had died, compared with 17 (23.9%) of 71 in the control group (P = 0.475). Adverse effects were similar between two groups.

Conclusion: In patients with severe COVID-19, ribavirin therapy is not associated with improved negative conversion time for SARS-CoV2 test, and not associated with improved mortality rate. Further assessment in designed randomized, controlled trials is recommended.

Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus disease; Respiratory infections; Ribavirin; SARS-CoV-2; Treatment.