Early Start of Oral Clarithromycin Is Associated with Better Outcome in COVID-19 of Moderate Severity: The ACHIEVE Open-Label Single-Arm Trial
Infect Dis Ther. 2021 Dec; 10(4): 2333–2351.
Published online 2021 Aug 6. doi: 10.1007/s40121-021-00505-8
Introduction The anti-inflammatory effect of macrolides prompted the study of oral clarithromycin in moderate COVID-19. Methods An open-label non-randomized trial in 90 patients with COVID-19 of moderate severity was conducted between May and October 2020. The primary endpoint was defined at the end of treatment (EOT) as no need for hospital re-admission and no progression into lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) for patients with upper respiratory tract infection and as at least 50% decrease of the respiratory symptoms score without progression into severe respiratory failure (SRF) for patients with LRTI. Viral load, biomarkers, the function of mononuclear cells and safety were assessed. Results The primary endpoint was attained in 86.7% of patients treated with clarithromycin (95% CIs 78.1–92.2%); this was 91.7% and 81.4% among patients starting clarithromycin the first 5 days from symptoms onset or later (odds ratio after multivariate analysis 6.62; p 0.030). The responses were better for patients infected by non-B1.1 variants. Clarithromycin use was associated with decreases in circulating C-reactive protein, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6; by increase of production of interferon-gamma and decrease of production of interleukin-6 by mononuclear cells; and by suppression of SARS-CoV-2 viral load. No safety concerns were reported. Conclusions Early clarithromycin treatment provides most of the clinical improvement in moderate COVID-19. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04398004 Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s40121-021-00505-8.
Keywords: Clarithromycin, COVID-19, Th1, Th2, Viral load