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COVID-19 and MIS-C treatment in children—results from an international survey

Donà, D; Minotti, C; Masini, T; Penazzato, M; Van Der Zalm, MM; Judd, A; Giaquinto, C; (2023) COVID-19 and MIS-C treatment in children—results from an international survey. European Journal of Pediatrics 10.1007/s00431-023-05179-7. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Children have been mostly excluded from COVID-19 clinical trials, and, as a result, most medicines approved for COVID-19 have no pediatric indication. In addition, access to COVID-19 therapeutics remains limited. Collecting physicians’ experiences with off-label use of therapeutics is important to inform global prioritization processes and better target pediatric research and development. A standardized questionnaire was designed to explore the use of therapeutics used to treat COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in pediatric patients globally. Seventy-three physicians from 29 countries participated. For COVID-19, steroids were used by 75.6% of respondents; remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies were prescribed by 48.6% and 27.1% of respondents, respectively. For MIS-C, steroids were prescribed by 79.1% of respondents and intravenous immunoglobulins by 69.6%. The use of these products depended on their pediatric approval and the limited availability of antivirals and most monoclonal antibodies in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe. Off-label prescription resulted widespread due to the paucity of clinical trials in young children at the time of the survey; though, based on our survey results, it was generally safe and led to clinical benefits. Conclusion: This survey provides a snapshot of current practice for treating pediatric COVID-19 worldwide, informing global prioritization efforts to better target pediatric research and development for COVID-19 therapeutics. Off-label use of such medicines is widespread for the paucity of clinical trials under 12 years and 40 kg, though appears to be safe and generally results in clinical benefits, even in young children. However, access to care, including medicine availability, differs widely globally. Clinical development of COVID-19 antivirals and monoclonal antibodies requires acceleration to ensure pediatric indication and allow worldwide availability of therapeutics that will enable more equitable access to COVID-19 treatment. What is Known: • Children have been mostly excluded from COVID-19 clinical trials, and, as a result, most medicines approved for COVID-19 have no pediatric indication. • Access to care differs widely globally, so because of the diversity of national healthcare systems; the unequal availability of medicines for COVID-19 treatment represents an obstacle to the pediatric population's universal right to health care. What is New: • Off-label COVID-19 drug prescription is widespread due to the lack of clinical trials in children younger than 12 years and weighing less than 40 kg, but relatively safe and generally leading to clinical benefit. • The application of the GAP-f framework to COVID-19 medicines is crucial, ensuring widespread access to all safe and effective drugs, enabling the rapid development of age-appropriate formulations, and developing specific access plans (including stability, storage, packaging, and labeling) for distribution in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Antivirals and monoclonal antibodies may benefit from the acceleration to reach widespread and equal diffusion.

Type: Article
Title: COVID-19 and MIS-C treatment in children—results from an international survey
Location: Germany
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00431-023-05179-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-023-05179-7
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Antivirals, COVID-19, Children, Global access, Monoclonal antibodies, Off-label
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177861
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