Clinically proven and FDA approved COVID-19 treatment hypothesis

The emerging global threat from COVID-19 demanded immediate action. With cases rising rapidly, we set up a specialist team to use our AI-drug discovery platform to search for existing drugs — already proven safe — that could be repurposed to treat the virus.

Latest News | Baricitinib granted emergency use approval in India

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We are the only AI company to successfully identify a drug to treat COVID-19

Together by building bespoke drug repurposing workflow customisations, we used our Knowledge Graph and AI tools to search for approved drugs that could treat COVID-19, focusing on those that might block the viral infection process. We identified baricitinib — a drug owned by Eli Lilly and approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis — as the strongest treatment candidate.

Our hypothesis sparked global clinical trials and the drug we identified is now approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19.​​

Rapid discovery

Scientists used our computational tools to interrogate the information in our Knowledge Graph and to rapidly visualise and explore the results. By combining human and machine intelligence, we arrived at a final hypothesis in just 48 hours.

Novel hypothesis

We extracted entirely new information from published research using our proprietary machine learning. Our novel hypothesis predicted that baricitinib could have antiviral activity, in addition to its previously known anti-inflammatory effect.

Effective treatment

Randomised control trial data showed the most significant reduction in mortality of any COVID-19 treatment tested to date: the COV-Barrier trial showed baricitinib reduced deaths by 38% across all patients, and by 46% in ventilated patients.

From computer to bench to bedside

Our hypothesis prompted global clinical trials. Following unprecedented global scientific collaboration, baricitinib now is authorised to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients in the US, Japan and India.


The Lancet | Baricitinib as potential treatment for 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease

February 04 2020 | Our first publication identified baricitinib as a potential COVID-19 treatment and predicted that the drug could reduce both the viral entry and the inflammation in COVID-19 patients.

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The lancet infectious diseaseS · 28 February 2020

Our second paper indicated that combining baricitinib with antivirals currently being used in the outbreak could reduce viral infectivity, virus replication and the body’s hyperinflammatory response, thus potentially reducing patient mortality.

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EMBO Molecular medicine · 26 June 2020

Experimental data showed successful outcomes in the initial patients treated with baricitinib, validating our hypothesis. Published by Eli Lilly, the Karolinska Institute, BenevolentAI and global frontline hospitals.

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Frontiers in Pharmacology · 28 July 2021

A further paper outlined the methodology behind our research: the workflow involved rapidly augmenting the knowledge graph with information from recent literature using machine learning based extraction, with human-guided iterative queries of the graph.

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Data from Eli Lilly’s COV-BARRIER trial shows baricitinib reduced deaths in hospitalised COVID-19 patients by 38%

8 April 2021 | Data from Eli Lilly’s COV-BARRIER trial demonstrated baricitinib reduces mortality by 38%: the largest clinical effect reported to date for a reduction in mortality in this patient population.

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ACTT-2 Trial Announced · 10 April 2020

Eli Lilly, who owns baricitinib, announced a Randomised Control Trial with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

ACTT-2 Trial Results · 14 september 2020

Peer-reviewed results from the ACTT-2 trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that baricitinib in combination with remdesivir reduces recovery time, improves clinical status and demonstrates a trend towards a decrease in mortality in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

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COV-Barrier Trial Announced · 15 June 2020

Eli Lilly announced an additional phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baricitinib to treat COVID-19.

Further COV-Barrier Trial Data Released · 01 september 2021

New data showed baricitinib reduces the risk of death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or ECMO by 46% - the most significant clinical effect reported to date for a reduction in mortality.

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FDA grants emergency use authorisation for baricitinib In hospitalised COVID-19 patients nine months after initial hypothesis was published by BenevolentAI

9 November 2020 | Baricitinib, in combination with remdesivir, granted Emergency Use Authorisation to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients by the FDA.

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APPRoved in japan · 23 april 2021

Japan's health ministry approved the use of baricitinib for treating COVID-19 patients.

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approved in india · 16 JUNE 2021

The Indian Ministry of Health approves baricitinib in combination with remdesivir to treat COVID-19.

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approved as a solo treatment · 29 july 2021

The FDA extended the Emergency Use Approval for baricitinib to be used as a solo treatment for COVID-19 in hospitalised adults and paediatric patients who need supplemental oxygen.

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