Janus Kinase inhibitors for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors have been successfully utilized in the clinical treatment of several rheumatologic (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) and inflammatory diseases (e.g. hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis). Based on the growing evidence that moderate and severe COVID-19 infections are associated with a dysregulated inflammatory state, this class of medications has been repurposed as a potential therapy for COVID-19, an infection caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.Recent findingsThree JAK inhibitors have been evaluated in human studies of COVID-19: Baricitinib, Tofacitinib, and Ruxolitinib. Most published studies are observational, but three randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trials have been completed: two large trials (N = 2,558 patients) with baricitinb demonstrated significant faster improvement in clinical status and reduction in the recovery time, as well as, significant reduction in the progression to invasive mechanical ventilation and mortality. One smaller randomized trial (N = 289) involving tofacitinib showed significant reduction in the progression to invasive ventilation or death. Notably, these three randomized placebo-controlled trials with close to 3,000 patients did not reveal any safety concerns associated with JAK inhibitors in terms of secondary infections or venous thromboembolism. Based on this high-quality evidence, both the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the National Institutes of Health guidelines recommend using baricitinib as part of the treatment approach for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.SummaryJAK inhibitors are novel treatment agents in the field of infectious diseases. One JAK inhibitor, baricitinib has demonstrated significant clinical and survival benefits in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in phase III randomized placebo-controlled trials. Baricitinib is already recommended for clinical practice by multiple guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-496
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Janus Kinases inhibitors
  • baricitinib
  • ruxolitinib
  • tofacitinib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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