As the pandemic hit, we mobilised a specialist team to find an approved drug that could be repurposed as a treatment for COVID-19 and uncovered baricitinib as the strongest option. Baricitinib is now approved for emergency use in the US, Japan and India after being validated in global clinical trials, where it was shown to reduce deaths by 38%.
Using our advanced drug repurposing workflows, we discovered previously unknown anti-viral properties of baricitinib, a drug owned by Eli Lilly, which was ultimately approved by the FDA for emergency use and proven to reduce mortality of hospitalised patients by 38%.
Our novel AI-derived hypothesis for baricitinib’s combined anti-viral and anti-inflammatory mechanism of action demonstrates the value of our approach and its ability to extract and infer new scientific information.
4 February 2020
Our first paper, published in The Lancet, predicted that baricitinib could reduce both the viral entry and the inflammation in COVID-19 patients.
28 February 2020
In a second paper published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, we indicated that baricitinib reduces endocytosis and the body’s hyperinflammatory response to the virus, thus potentially reducing patient mortality.
26 June 2020
Our AI-derived hypothesis was validated by experimental data which showed successful outcomes in the initial patients treated with baricitinib. This was published in the EMBO Journal by Eli Lilly, the Karolinska Institute, BenevolentAI and global frontline hospitals.
10 April 2020 / 14 September 2020
Eli Lilly entered baricitinib into a randomised-control trial with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Data from the trial showed that baricitinib, in combination with remdesivir, reduces the recovery time in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.
15 June 2020
Eli Lilly commenced an additional phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baricitinib to treat COVID-19. Data from the trial demonstrated baricitinib reduces mortality by 38% - the most significant clinical effect reported to date for a reduction in mortality in this patient population.
19 November 2020
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorisation for baricitinib in hospitalised COVID-19 patients based on data from the NIAID ACTT-2 trial.
23 april 2021
Japan's health ministry approved the use of baricitinib for treating COVID-19 patients.
16 june 2021
The Indian Ministry of Health approved the restricted emergency use of baricitinib in India.
Since being identified by our team in early January, baricitinib has been tested in global clinical trials and has been given emergency use authorisation to treat hospitalised patients in the US, Japan and India.