Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Critical care (London, England)


BACKGROUND: Calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel inhibitors block proinflammatory cytokine release, preserve endothelial integrity and may effectively treat patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

METHODS: CARDEA was a phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the addition of Auxora, a CRAC channel inhibitor, to corticosteroids and standard of care in adults with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Eligible patients were adults with ≥ 1 symptom consistent with COVID-19 infection, a diagnosis of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory testing using polymerase chain reaction or other assay, and pneumonia documented by chest imaging. Patients were also required to be receiving oxygen therapy using either a high flow or low flow nasal cannula at the time of enrolment and have at the time of enrollment a baseline imputed PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio > 75 and ≤ 300. The PaO(2)/FiO(2) was imputed from a SpO(2)/FiO(2) determine by pulse oximetry using a non-linear equation. Patients could not be receiving either non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation at the time of enrolment. The primary endpoint was time to recovery through Day 60, with secondary endpoints of all-cause mortality at Day 60 and Day 30. Due to declining rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and utilization of standard of care medications prohibited by regulatory guidance, the trial was stopped early.

RESULTS: The pre-specified efficacy set consisted of the 261 patients with a baseline imputed PaO(2)/FiO(2)≤ 200 with 130 and 131 in the Auxora and placebo groups, respectively. Time to recovery was 7 vs. 10 days (P = 0.0979) for patients who received Auxora vs. placebo, respectively. The all-cause mortality rate at Day 60 was 13.8% with Auxora vs. 20.6% with placebo (P = 0.1449); Day 30 all-cause mortality was 7.7% and 17.6%, respectively (P = 0.0165). Similar trends were noted in all randomized patients, patients on high flow nasal cannula at baseline or those with a baseline imputed PaO(2)/FiO(2) ≤ 100. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were less frequent in patients treated with Auxora vs. placebo and occurred in 34 patients (24.1%) receiving Auxora and 49 (35.0%) receiving placebo (P = 0.0616). The most common SAEs were respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pneumonia.

CONCLUSIONS: Auxora was safe and well tolerated with strong signals in both time to recovery and all-cause mortality through Day 60 in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Further studies of Auxora in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia are warranted. Trial registration NCT04345614.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Benzamides; COVID-19; Calcium Release Activated Calcium Channels; Humans; Pyrazines; Respiration, Artificial; Respiratory Distress Syndrome; SARS-CoV-2; Treatment Outcome

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.