The Use of Mebendazole in COVID-19 Patients: An Observational Retrospective Single Center Study

Mostafa W. Galal, Mahmoud Salama Ahmed, Yanqiu Shao, Chao Xing, Wael Ali, Abd Elhamid Baly, Abdallah Elfiky, Khaled Amer, John Schoggins, Hesham A. Sadek, Zeinab N. Gobara

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Background. An in-silico screen identified mebendazole with potential antiviral activity that could be a repurposed drug against SARS-CoV-2. Mebendazole is a well-tolerated and cheap antihelminthic agent that is readily available worldwide and thus could be a therapeutic tool in the fight against COVID-19. Methods. This is an observational retrospective study of PCR-confirmed COVID-19 patients who received mebendazole with the intention-to-treat. The study included an inpatient cohort (157 inpatients) and an outpatient cohort (185 outpatients). Of the 157 inpatients and 185 outpatients, 68 (43.3%) and 94 (50.8%) received mebendazole, respectively. Patients who presented within the same timeframe but did not receive mebendazole were used as controls. Patients received standard-of-care treatment including remdesivir, dexamethasone, and anticoagulants as deemed necessary by the treating physician. The following clinical outcomes were evaluated: for the inpatient cohort, length of stay (LOS) at the hospital, need for ventilation (combined invasive and noninvasive), and mortality; for the outpatient cohort, time to symptom resolution, need for hospitalization, and mortality. Results. For the inpatient cohort, the median age did not differ between the treatment and control groups; 62 (56, 67) vs. 62 (56, 68), P, and there was a comparable proportion of males in both groups; 43 (63%) vs. 55 (62%), P=0.85. The hospital LOS was 3.5 days shorter in the treatment group compared to the control group (P<0.001). There were fewer patients who required invasive or noninvasive ventilation in the treatment group, 2 (2.9%) vs. 7 (7.9%), and the mortality rate is lower in the treatment group, 3 (4.4%) vs. 8 (9.0%), though the differences did not reach statistical significance. For the outpatient cohort, the median age was lower in the treatment group compared with the control group; 40 (34, 48) vs. 48 (41, 54), P<0.001. There was a comparable proportion of males between both groups; 50 (53%) vs. 52 (57%), P=0.59. Patients in the treatment group were 3.3 days closer to symptom resolution (P<0.001). There were numerically fewer patients requiring hospitalization in the treatment group compared with the control group, 3 (3.2%) vs. 6 (6.6%), though this did not reach statistical significance (P=0.33). Conclusion. In this retrospective observational study, the use of mebendazole in COVID-19 patients was associated with shorter hospitalizations in the inpatient cohort and shorter durations of symptom resolution in the outpatient cohort. The findings from this small observational study are hypothesis-generating and preclude drawing conclusions about clinical efficacy. Further studies are needed to examine the role of mebendazole in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3014686
JournalAdvances in Virology
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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