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Efficacy of Lopinavir-Ritonavir Prophylaxis for Individuals Exposed to SARS-CoV-2: The COPEP Pragmatic Open-Label, Cluster Randomized Trial
22 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2021More...
Background: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, no direct antiviral treatment is effective as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) was repurposed as a potential PEP agent against COVID-19.
Methods: We conducted a pragmatic open-label, parallel, cluster-randomized superiority trial in four sites in Switzerland and Brazil. Clusters were randomized to receive LPV/r PEP (400/100 mg) twice daily for 5 days or no PEP (surveillance). The primary outcome is the occurrence of COVID-19 within 21 days post-enrollment.
Findings: Of 318 participants, 157 (49.4%) were women, median age was 39 (interquartile range, 28-50) years. A total of 209 (179 clusters) participants were randomized to LPV/r PEP and 109 (95 clusters) to surveillance. Baseline characteristics were similar, with the exception of baseline SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity, which was 3-fold more frequent in the LPV/r arm (34/209 [16.3%] vs 6/109 [5.5%], respectively). During 21-day follow-up, 48/318 (15.1%) participants developed COVID-19: 35/209 (16.7%) in the LPV/r group and 13/109 (11.9%) in the surveillance group (unadjusted hazard ratio 1.44; 95% CI, 0.76 to 2.73). In the primary endpoint analysis adjusted for propensity score to receive LPV/r, the hazard ratio for developing COVID-19 in the LPV/r group vs surveillance was 0.53 (95% CI, 0.23 to 1.23, respectively; P =.14).
Interpretation: LPV/r role as PEP for COVID-19 remains unanswered. In this trial, LPV/r over 5 days did not significantly reduce incidence of COVID-19 in exposed individuals. We observed a change in directionality of the effect in favor of LPV/r after adjusting for baseline SARS-CoV-2 PCR results, indicating a potential role of antivirals in COVID-19 prevention.
Clinical Trial Registration Details: ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT04364022); Swiss National Clinical Trial Portal: SNCTP 000003732.
Funding Information: Fondation privée des HUG and Swiss National Fund (project number: 33IC30_166819).
Declaration of Interests: None reported.
Ethics Approval Statement: The protocol and amendments were approved by Swissmedic and local ethics committees in Switzerland and Brazil. Participants provided written informed consent before study entry.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation