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 ClinicalTrials.gov 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.