Phase-2 trial with three drugs offers hope
Testing in Hong Kong hospitals shows the regimen clears coronavirus in 7 days in the mildly ill.
- A phase-2 trial involving participants with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness found no detectable virus within an average seven days of starting treatment with a three-drug regimen compared with 12 days in people in the control group.
- Samples tested for the virus comprised nasopharyngeal swab, posterior oropharyngeal saliva, throat swab, and stool samples.
- Clinical improvement was also significantly better in those who received the three-drug regimen.
- Complete alleviation of symptoms was achieved in four days in the intervention group and eight days in the control group.
- The average hospital stay was also significantly shorter (nine days) in participants who received the three-drug therapy than in the control group (14.5 days). The three-drug regimen was found to be safe.
- The 127 participants were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or a control group. The intervention group had 86 participants and the control group had 41.
- Participants in the intervention group received oral lopinavir-ritonavir, ribavirin and injectable interferon beta-1b, while the control group received only lopinavir–ritonavir.
- Treatment in both groups started within seven days of symptoms showing up.
- Lopinavir-ritonavir is used for treating HIV, ribavirin for treating chronic hepatitis C virus, and injectable interferon beta-1b is used by multiple sclerosis patients.