Namilumab or infliximab compared to standard of care in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 (CATALYST): a phase 2 randomised adaptive trial

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint



Background: Dysregulated inflammation is associated with poor outcomes in Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We assessed the efficacy of namilumab, a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor inhibitor and infliximab, a tumour necrosis factor inhibitor in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in order to prioritise agents for phase 3 trials.

Methods: In this randomised, multi-arm, parallel group, open label, adaptive phase 2 proof-of-concept trial (CATALYST) we recruited hospitalised patients ≥ 16 years with COVID-19 pneumonia and C-reactive protein (CRP) ≥ 40mg/L in nine UK hospitals. Participants were randomly allocated with equal probability to usual care, or usual care plus a single 150mg intravenous dose of namilumab (150mg) or infliximab (5mg/kg). Randomisation was stratified for ward versus ICU. The primary endpoint was improvement in inflammation in intervention arms compared to control as measured by CRP over time, analysed using Bayesian multi-level models. ISRCTN registry number 40580903.

Findings: Between 15th June 2020 and 18th February 2021 we randomised 146 participants: 54 to usual care, 57 to namilumab and 35 to infliximab. The probabilities that namilumab and infliximab were superior to usual care in reducing CRP over time were 97% and 15% respectively. Consistent effects were seen in ward and ICU patients and aligned with clinical outcomes, such that the probability of discharge (WHO levels 1-3) at day 28 was 47% and 64% for ICU and ward patients on usual care, versus 66% and 77% for patients treated with namilumab. 134 adverse events occurred in 30/55 (54.5%) namilumab patients compared to 145 in 29/54 (53.7%) usual care patients. 102 events occurred in 20/29 (69.0%) infliximab patients versus 112 events in 17/34 (50.0%) usual care patients.

Interpretation: Namilumab, but not infliximab, demonstrated proof-of-concept evidence for reduction in inflammation in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 pneumonia which was consistent with secondary clinical outcomes. Namilumab should be prioritised for further investigation in COVID-19.

Funding: Medical Research Council.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2021


  • intensive care and critical care medicine