Efficacy and safety of triazavirin therapy for coronavirus disease 2019: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Xiaoke Wu, Kaijiang Yu, Yongchen Wang, Wanhai Xu, Hongli Ma, Yan Hou, Yue Li, Benzhi Cai, Liying Zhu, Min Zhang, Xiaoli Hu, Jingshu Gao, Yu Wang, Huichao Qin, Wenjie Wang, Mingyan Zhao, Xia Wu, Yong Zhang, Lu Li, Kang LiZhimin Du, Ben Willem J Mol, Baofeng Yang* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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No therapeutics have been proven effective yet for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To assess the efficacy and safety of Triazavirin therapy for COVID-19, we conducted a randomized, double-blinded controlled trial involving hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19. Participants were enrolled from ten sites, and were randomized into two arms of the study with a ratio of 1:1. Patients were treated with Triazavirin 250 mg versus a placebo three or four times a day for 7 d. The primary outcome was set as the time to clinical improvement, defined as normalization of body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, cough, and absorption of pulmonary infection by chest computed tomography (CT) until 28 d after randomization. Secondary outcomes included individual components of the primary outcome, the mean time and proportion of inflammatory absorption in the lung, and the conversion rate to a repeated negative SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test of throat swab sampling. Concomitant therapeutic treatments, adverse events, and serious adverse events were recorded. Our study was halted after the recruitment of 52 patients, since the number of new infections in the participating hospitals decreased greatly. We randomized 52 patients for treatment with Triazavirin (n = 26) or a placebo (n = 26). We found no differences in the time to clinical improvement (median, 7 d vs. 12 d; risk ratio (RR), 2.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7–5.6; p = 0.2), with clinical improvement occurring in ten patients in the Triazavirin group and six patients in the placebo group (38.5% vs. 23.1%, RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 0.6–7.0; p = 0.2). All components of the primary outcome normalized within 28 d, with the exception of absorption of pulmonary infection (Triazavirin 50.0%, placebo 26.1%). Patients in the Triazavirin group used less frequent concomitant therapies for respiratory, cardiac, renal, hepatic, or coagulation supports. Although no statistically significant evidence was found to indicate that Triazavirin benefits COVID-19 patients, our observations indicated possible benefits from its use to treat COVID-19 due to its antiviral effects. Further study is required for confirmation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1191
Number of pages7
JournalEngineering (Beijing, China)
Issue number10
Early online date8 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

We are deeply grateful to the front-line clinicians who participated in the study while directly fighting the epidemic. This study was supported by the Chinese Academy of Engineering Projects for COVID-19 (2020-KYGG-01-04) and Heilongjiang Province Urgent Project-6 for COVID-19. Data and safety monitoring board members of this trial included Kang Li, Yong Zhang, Songjiang Liu, and Yaohui Shi.


  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Triazavirin
  • Efficacy
  • Safety


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