Baricitinib is a JAK1 and 2 selective inhibitor. The compound is orally bioavailable.
Through the application of proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms baricitinib has been predicted to possess antiviral activity in addition to its known anti-inflammatory efficacy [1
]. Antiviral activity is predicted to arise from inhibition of the numb-associated kinase (NAK) AAK1 which is an important regulator of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Inhibition of AAK1 would likely reduce the ability of viruses to infect lung cells, and is being proposed as a pharmacological mechanism that warrants further investigation as a treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19 disease). In addition, the powerful anti-inflammatory activity of baricitinib (and potentially other approved JAK inhibitors such as fedratinib
, and ruxolitinib
) is likely to be effective against the pathological effects of raised cytokine levels (e.g
. interferon γ) in patients with severe COVID-19. Short term use of baricitinib during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection (7-14 days) is not anticipated to cause serious side-effects.