Evaluating Clinical Efficacy of Antiviral Therapy for COVID-19: A Surrogate Endpoint Approach

Hsiao Hsuan Jen, Wei Jung Chang, Ting Yu Lin, Chen Yang Hsu, Ming-Fang Yen, Chao Chih Lai, Tony Hsiu Hsi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Efficient evaluation with an early surrogate endpoint, taking into account the process of disease evolution, may not only clarify inconsistent or underpowered results but also provide a new insight into the exploration of a new antiviral therapy for treating COVID-19 patients. Methods: We assessed the dynamics of COVID-19 disease spectrum, commencing from low-risk (no or low oxygen supplement), medium-risk (non-invasive ventilator or high oxygen supplement), and high-risk (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or invasive ventilator) risk state on enrollment, and then the subsequent progression and regression of risk states until discharge or death. The efficacy of antiviral therapy in altering the dynamics was assessed by using the high-risk state as a surrogate endpoint based on the data retrieved from the two-arm Adaptive Covid-19 Treatment Trial. Results: Using the high-risk state as a surrogate endpoint, remdesivir treatment led to a decrease in the high-risk COVID-19 state by 34.8% (95% CI 26.7–42.0%) for a 14-day period and 29.3% (95% CI 28.8–29.8%) up to 28 days, which were consistent with a statistically significant reduction of death by 30.5% (95% CI 6.6, 50.9%) up to a 28-day period. The estimates of numbers needed to be treated were 100.9 (95% CI 88.1, 115.7) for using the high-risk COVID-19 state as a surrogate endpoint for a 14-day period and 133.3 (95% CI 112.5, 158.0) were required for averting one death from COVID-19 up to 28 days. Conclusions: We demonstrate the expedient use of the high-risk COVID-19 disease status as a surrogate endpoint for evaluating the primary outcome of the earliest death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-825
Number of pages11
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Antiviral therapy
  • COVID-19
  • Disease evolution
  • Efficacy
  • Multistate model
  • Surrogate endpoint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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