COVID-19 morbidity and mortality are driven by poor immune regulation. Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy is standard of care in a number of immune-dysregulated diseases. To assess the efficacy of NB-UVB phototherapy for improving COVID-19 outcomes in high-risk, hospitalized, we developed the Adaptive Photo-Protection Trial. This is a multi-center, prospective, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The pilot phase results are reported here. Consecutive patients admitted with a positive COVID-19 PCR were screened for eligibility. Enrolled subjects were computer randomized 1:1 to NB-UVB or placebo phototherapy. Subjects were treated daily with escalating doses on 27% of their body surface area for up to 8 consecutive days. Primary outcomes were safety and efficacy, defined as persistent or painful erythema and 28-day mortality. Comparisons were made via non-parametric exact tests. Patients in treatment (n = 15) and placebo (n = 15) arms had similar demographics. No adverse events occurred. Twenty eight-day mortality was 13.3% in treatment vs. 33.3% in placebo arms (p = 0.39). NB-UVB phototherapy in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was safe. Decreased mortality was observed in treated patients but this was statistically non-significant. Given its low-cost, scalability, and adjunctive nature, NB-UVB has the potential to improve COVID-19 outcomes. Continuation of this trial is warranted.
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Lau, Frank H.; Powell, Catherine E.; Adonecchi, Giacomo; Danos, Denise M.; DiNardo, Andrew R.; Chugden, Robert J.; Wolf, Peter; and Castilla, Carmen F., "Pilot Phase Results Of A Prospective, Randomized Controlled Trial Of Narrowband Ultraviolet B Phototherapy In Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients" (2022). School of Medicine Faculty Publications. 715.