Researchers find three-drug antiviral cocktail potent for Covid-19 treatmentMay 09, 2020 14:04
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With so many trials for drugs and vaccines for Covid-19 underway, Hong Kong researchers have found a breakthrough in their observations.
According to the researchers, the patients suffering from milder symptoms after being infected with the Sars-CoV-2 tend to recover a lot quicker when treated with the three-drug antiviral cocktail right after the symptoms disappear.
The findings of the study have been published in Lancet and the researchers have informed that the findings are “early but important”.
Owing to the positive results that the researchers have noticed, they have called for a larger scale research on the critically ill patients instead of the patients showcasing milder symptoms.
Kwok-Yung Yuen, professor at the University of Hong Kong, who is also the lead author of the study stated saying that their research finds that treating the patients with mild symptoms with the triple dose combination of the antiviral drugs helps in suppressing the amount of virus present in the patient’s body.
Yuen further said that the treatment was also effective enough in relieving the symptoms and reducing the risks that is imposed on the healthcare workers who come in direct exposure of the viral load. This also reduces the duration that the healthcare workers have to come in contact with the patients.
The scientists are running against time to find or develop a medicine or vaccine for the Covid-19 but sadly, nothing has been found yet.
The study further tracked 127 of the infected patients in Hong Kong hospital after they tested positive for the virus.
Out of all the participating patients, 86 patients were administered with the two week course of the three antiviral drugs interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin which are responsible for treating multiple sclerosis, HIV and Hepatitis respectively.
Aside from that, a random controlled group was administered with just lopinavir-ritonavir combination.
The treatment was initiated around five days after the patients started showing symptoms. Aside from the medications, all the patients later received the standard care at the hospital with the oxygen therapy.
Following that, the researchers noted the time frame that it took for a swab test to come out as negative.
When find the results, the researchers found that the individuals who were administered with the combination of the three drugs recovered in an average of 7 days (5-11 days) which was a lot shorter than the control group that took 12 days to recover.
Those on the three drug combination also experienced a full recovery from the symptoms in an average of four days, which was witnessed to be 8 days in the control group.
The study was carried out on the patients who tested positive in Hong Kong between February 10 and March 20.
The authors further conceded a number of the limitations imposed to this “open trial” wherein the subjects knew of the drugs that they were being administered with.
Aside from that, the patients who have been admitted for over seven days were administered with interferon with the imposed risks of inflammation in the body.
In that, 34 patients were given the lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin combination while the rest of the 17 were in the control group. The researchers found that both the groups took equally long time to recover suggesting that the interferon was the key to the shorter illness in the infected patients.
"Future clinical study of a double antiviral therapy with interferon beta-1b as a backbone is warranted," the study suggested.
"It has been clear from long experience that HIV is best treated with combinations of different drugs and this could also be the case with COVID-19," said Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
By Somapika Dutta