Auxora vs. placebo for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia: A randomized-controlled clinical trial
Bruen C, Al-Saadi M, Michelson EA, et al. Auxora vs. placebo for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. Crit Care. 2022;26(1):101. Published 2022 Apr 8. doi:10.1186/s13054-022-03964-8
Background: Calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel inhibitors block proinflammatory cytokine release, preserve endothelial integrity and may effectively treat patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
Methods: CARDEA was a phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the addition of Auxora, a CRAC channel inhibitor, to corticosteroids and standard of care in adults with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Eligible patients were adults with ≥ 1 symptom consistent with COVID-19 infection, a diagnosis of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory testing using polymerase chain reaction or other assay, and pneumonia documented by chest imaging. Patients were also required to be receiving oxygen therapy using either a high flow or low flow nasal cannula at the time of enrolment and have at the time of enrollment a baseline imputed PaO2/FiO2 ratio > 75 and ≤ 300. The PaO2/FiO2 was imputed from a SpO2/FiO2 determine by pulse oximetry using a non-linear equation. Patients could not be receiving either non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation at the time of enrolment. The primary endpoint was time to recovery through Day 60, with secondary endpoints of all-cause mortality at Day 60 and Day 30. Due to declining rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and utilization of standard of care medications prohibited by regulatory guidance, the trial was stopped early.
Results: The pre-specified efficacy set consisted of the 261 patients with a baseline imputed PaO2/FiO2≤ 200 with 130 and 131 in the Auxora and placebo groups, respectively. Time to recovery was 7 vs. 10 days (P = 0.0979) for patients who received Auxora vs. placebo, respectively. The all-cause mortality rate at Day 60 was 13.8% with Auxora vs. 20.6% with placebo (P = 0.1449); Day 30 all-cause mortality was 7.7% and 17.6%, respectively (P = 0.0165). Similar trends were noted in all randomized patients, patients on high flow nasal cannula at baseline or those with a baseline imputed PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 100. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were less frequent in patients treated with Auxora vs. placebo and occurred in 34 patients (24.1%) receiving Auxora and 49 (35.0%) receiving placebo (P = 0.0616). The most common SAEs were respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pneumonia.
Conclusions: Auxora was safe and well tolerated with strong signals in both time to recovery and all-cause mortality through Day 60 in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Further studies of Auxora in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia are warranted. Trial registration NCT04345614.