Deakin University

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Real-world effectiveness of molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir against mortality, hospitalisation, and in-hospital outcomes among community-dwelling, ambulatory patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during the omicron wave in Hong Kong: an observational study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 05:09 authored by CKH Wong, ICH Au, KTK Lau, EHY Lau, BJ Cowling, GM Leung
Background: Little is known about the real-world effectiveness of oral antivirals against the SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) variant. We aimed to assess the clinical effectiveness of two oral antiviral drugs among community-dwelling COVID-19 outpatients in Hong Kong. Methods: In this observational study, we used data from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to identify an unselected, territory-wide cohort of non-hospitalised patients with an officially registered diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection between Feb 26 and June 26, 2022, during the period in which the omicron subvariant BA.2.2 was dominant in Hong Kong. We used a retrospective cohort design as primary analysis, and a case-control design as sensitivity analysis. We identified patients with COVID-19 who received either molnupiravir (800 mg twice daily for 5 days) or nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir (nirmatrelvir 300 mg and ritonavir 100 mg twice daily for 5 days, or nirmatrelvir 150 mg and ritonavir 100 mg if estimated glomerular filtration rate was 30–59 mL/min per 1·73 m2). Outpatient oral antiviral users were matched with controls using propensity score (1:10) according to age, sex, date of SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosis, Charlson Comorbidity Index score, and vaccination status. Study outcomes were death, COVID-19-related hospitalisation, and in-hospital disease progression (in-hospital death, invasive mechanical ventilation, or intensive care unit admission). Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated by Cox regression for the primary analysis, and odds ratios in oral antiviral users compared with non-users by logistic regression for the sensitivity analysis. Findings: Among 1 074 856 non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19, 5383 received molnupiravir and 6464 received nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir in the community setting. Patients were followed up for a median of 103 days in the molnupiravir group and 99 days in the nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir group. Compared with nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir users, those on molnupiravir were older (4758 [85·9%] vs 4418 [88.7%] aged >60 years) and less likely to have been fully vaccinated (1850 [33·4%] vs 800 [16·1%]). Molnupiravir use was associated with lower risks of death (HR 0·76 [95% CI 0·61–0·95]) and in-hospital disease progression (0·57 [0·43–0·76]) than non-use was, whereas risk of hospitalisation was similar in both groups (0·98 [0·89–1·06]). Nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir use was associated with lower risks of death (0·34 [0·22–0·52]), hospitalisation (0·76 [0·67–0·86]), and in-hospital disease progression (0·57 [0·38–0·87]) than non-use was. We consistently found reduced risks of mortality and hospitalisation associated with early oral antiviral use among older patients. The findings from the case-control analysis broadly supported those from the primary analysis. Interpretation: During Hong Kong's wave of SARS-CoV-2 omicron subvariant BA.2.2, among non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19, early initiation of novel oral antivirals was associated with reduced risks of mortality and in-hospital disease progression. Nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir use was additionally associated with a reduced risk of hospitalisation. Funding: Health and Medical Research Fund, Health Bureau, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Translation: For the Chinese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.



The Lancet













Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Elsevier BV