Friday, November 20, 2020

Coronavirus – clinical trials #5 (& statistics)

The New York Post reports that a clinical trial has shown another repurposed drug, baricitinib (brand name Olumiant) is effective in reducing mortality rates of Covid patients.  Other sources, such as report the same. 

The articles say baricitinib reduces mortality by two-thirds or 71%. I don't understand how, because 1 - 17/35 = 0.514 is significantly less. Moreover, I have seen other cases where I didn't understand how the number was calculated. 

I have heard of other metrics used for clinical trials, such as odds-ratio and Cox Proportional Hazards-model but have been unable to replicate numbers the story claimed. I couldn't calculate an odds ratio for baricitinib because the news stories do not give all the numbers needed. Anyway, the alleged number in the news story has every time been higher than the number I got using the simple method shown above.

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