Newsroom | 09 April 2020

Cigna Helps Accelerate Research For A COVID-19 Treatment By Donating Medications To Washington University School Of Medicine's Clinical Trial

  • Research to evaluate whether combination treatments of antimalarial drugs and antibiotics decrease respiratory symptoms for COVID-19 patients

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., April 9, 2020 -- To accelerate research for a COVID-19 treatment, Cigna is providing medications to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to initiate a clinical trial that will evaluate antimalarial and antibiotic treatments for COVID-19. The researchers plan to enroll 500 patients, over the course of the study, hospitalized with the novel coronavirus at Barnes - Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO.

"Finding a proven treatment for COVID-19 is the most pressing global public health priority," said Dr. Steve Miller, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Cigna. "Through our close collaboration with Washington University, we can help fast-track this effort."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted emergency approval for hospitals to use antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The Washington University School of Medicine has implemented a pilot trial investigating the use of these medications in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin to identify the most effective combinations and dosages that will decrease the severity and duration of respiratory symptoms and speed recovery for COVID-19 patients.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are oral prescription drugs approved to treat malaria and other diseases. Anecdotal reports and in vitro trials suggest these drugs might be useful in treating coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but definitive evidence is needed.

"There have been only a few small studies that have evaluated chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19, and the results are unclear," said Infectious Disease Specialist, Rachel M. Presti, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, who is co-leading the trial. "Our goal is to determine if any of these medications, alone or in combination, decrease the severity or duration of respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19."

Preliminary data could be available as early as six weeks.

About Cigna
Cigna Corporation is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Cigna delivers choice, predictability, affordability and access to quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Express Scripts companies or their affiliates, and Life Insurance Company of North America.

Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 170 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

About Express Scripts
Express Scripts is a health care opportunity company. Empowered by our legacy as an industry innovator, we dare to imagine — and deliver — a better health care system with greater choice, predictability, affordability and improved outcomes. From pharmacy and medical benefits management, to specialty pharmacy care and everything in between, we uncover opportunities to make health care better.

We stand alongside our clients and partners, collaborating to develop personalized solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve, whenever and wherever it's needed. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, this commitment to our customers has never been more important.

Express Scripts, a Cigna company, unlocks new value in pharmacy, medical and beyond to further total health for all.

For more information, visit www.express-scripts.com/corporate or follow @ExpressScripts on Twitter.

Media Contact
Jennifer Luddy
1 (201) 269-6402
Jennifer_Luddy@express-scripts.com