Title

Making Statistical Sense of the Molnupiravir MOVe-OUT Clinical Trial

Publication Name

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Abstract

Oral therapies for the early treatment of COVID-19 may prevent disease progression and health system overcrowding. A new oral therapeutic named molnupiravir has been promoted as providing an approximately 50% reduction in death or the need for hospitalization. The clinical trial evaluating this drug was stopped early at the recommendation of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board after approximately 50% of the sample had been recruited. At the point of discontinuing the trial, approximately 90% of the planned sample had been recruited and had available follow-up data accessible. We discuss issues about the study conduct, analysis, and interpretation, including 1) the authors and sponsors presented the interim analysis as the primary analysis; 2) communication between sponsors and the Data Safety and Monitoring Board was insufficient; 3) the treatment effects reverse when examining only the post-interim analysis population, and are substantially attenuated when examining the full data; 4) the choice of primary analysis is incorrect; 5) analysis of lost-to-follow-up patients favors the study drug; and 6) other known molnupiravir trials were not presented in the primary study findings. As a result of methodological and statistical concerns, it seems that external trials, separate from those supported by the sponsoring company, are required to determine the utility of this drug.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Volume

106

Issue

5

First Page

1301

Last Page

1304

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.21-1339