Clinical efficacy and safety of interferon-β-containing regimens in the treatment of patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2022 May;20(5):741-747. doi: 10.1080/14787210.2022.2004118. Epub 2021 Nov 18.


Objective: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials(RCTs) was to investigate the efficacy of interferon (IFN)-β-containing regimens in treating patients with COVID-19.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and were searched from inception to 17 July 2021. RCTs comparing the clinical efficacy and safety of IFN-β-containing regimens (study group) to other antiviral treatment options or placebo (control group) in treating patients with COVID-19 were included.

Results: Eight RCTs were included. No significant difference in the 28-day all-cause mortality rate was observed between the study and control groups (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.44-1.24; I2 = 51%). The study groups had a lower rate of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions than the control groups (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.36-0.95; I2 = 0%). Furthermore, INF-β was not associated with an increased risk of any adverse event (AE) or serious AE when compared with the control group.

Conclusions: IFN-β does not appear to provide an increased survival benefit in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 but may help reduce the risk of ICU admission. Moreover, IFN-β is a safe agent for use in the treatment of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; ICU; SARS-CoV-2; interferon-β; mortality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-beta / adverse effects
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-beta

Grant support

This paper was not funded.