Effectiveness of Molnupiravir and Nirmatrelvir–Ritonavir in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19
Annals of Internal Medicine, doi:10.7326/m22-3057
Background: Whether hospitalized patients benefit from COVID-19 oral antivirals is uncertain. Objective: To examine the real-world effectiveness of molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir-ritonavir in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 during the Omicron outbreak. Design: Target trial emulation study. Setting: Electronic health databases in Hong Kong.
Participants: The molnupiravir emulated trial included hospitalized patients with COVID-19 aged 18 years or older between 26 February and 18 July 2022 (n = 16 495). The nirmatrelvirritonavir emulated trial included hospitalized patients with COVID-19 aged 18 years or older between 16 March and 18 July 2022 (n = 7119). Intervention: Initiation of molnupiravir or nirmatrelvir-ritonavir within 5 days of hospitalization with COVID-19 versus no initiation of molnupiravir or nirmatrelvir-ritonavir. Measurements: Effectiveness against all-cause mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, or use of ventilatory support within 28 days.
Results: The use of oral antivirals in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was associated with a lower risk for all-cause mortality (molnupiravir: hazard ratio [HR], 0.87 [95% CI, 0.81 to 0.93]; nirmatrelvir-ritonavir: HR, 0.77 [CI, 0.66 to 0.90]) but no significant risk reduction in terms of ICU admission (molnupiravir: HR, 1.02 [CI, 0.76 to 1.36]; nirmatrelvir-ritonavir: HR, 1.08 [CI, 0.58 to 2.02]) or the need for ventilatory support (molnupiravir: HR, 1.07 [CI, 0.89 to 1.30]; nirmatrelvir-ritonavir: HR, 1.03 [CI, 0.70 to 1.52]). There was no significant interaction between drug treatment and the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses received, thereby supporting the effectiveness of oral antivirals regardless of vaccination status. No significant interaction between nirmatrelvir-ritonavir treatment and age, sex, or Charlson Comorbidity Index was observed, whereas molnupiravir tended to be more effective in older people.
Limitation: The outcome of ICU admission or need for ventilatory support may not capture all severe COVID-19 cases; unmeasured confounders, such as obesity and health behaviors, may exist.
Conclusion: Molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir-ritonavir reduced all-cause mortality in both vaccinated and unvaccinated hospitalized patients. No significant reduction in ICU admission or the need for ventilatory support was observed.
Disclaimer: The corresponding authors had full access to all of the data in the study and take final responsibility for the decision to submit it for publication.
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