RBD-specific polyclonal F(ab´)2 fragments of equine antibodies in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 disease: A randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, adaptive phase 2/3 clinical trial

EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Apr;34:100843. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100843. Epub 2021 Apr 11.


Background: passive immunotherapy is a therapeutic alternative for patients with COVID-19. Equine polyclonal antibodies (EpAbs) could represent a source of scalable neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: we conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to assess efficacy and safety of EpAbs (INM005) in hospitalized adult patients with moderate and severe COVID-19 pneumonia in 19 hospitals of Argentina. Primary endpoint was improvement in at least two categories in WHO ordinal clinical scale at day 28 or hospital discharge (ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT04494984).

Findings: between August 1st and October 26th, 2020, a total of 245 patients were enrolled. Enrolled patients were assigned to receive two blinded doses of INM005 (n = 118) or placebo (n = 123). Median age was 54 years old, 65•1% were male and 61% had moderate disease at baseline. Median time from symptoms onset to study treatment was 6 days (interquartile range 5 to 8). No statistically significant difference was noted between study groups on primary endpoint (risk difference [95% IC]: 5•28% [-3•95; 14•50]; p = 0•15). Rate of improvement in at least two categories was statistically significantly higher for INM005 at days 14 and 21 of follow-up. Time to improvement in two ordinal categories or hospital discharge was 14•2 (± 0•7) days in the INM005 group and 16•3 (± 0•7) days in the placebo group, hazard ratio 1•31 (95% CI 1•0 to 1•74). Subgroup analyses showed a beneficial effect of INM005 over severe patients and in those with negative baseline antibodies. Overall mortality was 6•9% the INM005 group and 11•4% in the placebo group (risk difference [95% IC]: 0•57 [0•24 to 1•37]). Adverse events of special interest were mild or moderate; no anaphylaxis was reported.

Interpretation: Albeit not having reached the primary endpoint, we found clinical improvement of hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, particularly those with severe disease.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04494984