HIV drug not effective for hospitalised Covid patients not on ventilator

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 1, 2020

A combination of antiviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV showed no beneficial effects in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in a large-scale randomised trial, scientists in the United Kingdom have found.

Announcing results of the lopinavir-ritonavir arm of the trial, researchers from Oxford University said in a statement that the data "rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of lopinavir-ritonavir" in hospitalised Covid-19 patients. About 1,600 patients who got Kaletra were compared with 3,376 who received usual care, the researchers said Monday.

"These preliminary results show that for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and not on a ventilator, lopinavir-ritonavir is not an effective treatment", Peter Horby, chief investigator for the trial, said.

More than 11,800 patients have been enrolled in the RECOVERY trial so far, 1,596 of which were randomised to the intervention group receiving lopinavir/ritonavir.

"There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality and the results were consistent in different subgroups of patients".

Many trials of lopinavir-ritonavir are underway to see if it improves symptoms in adult patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19.

There was also no evidence of a beneficial effect from the drug combination on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation or length of hospital stay.

They noted that they were unable to study the impact of patients who were already on ventilation.

Earlier this month, the Oxford trial published results showing that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine was ineffective as a COVID-19 treatment. As such, they can not make conclusions about the effectiveness in mechanically ventilated patients, the researchers said, adding full results will be made available as soon as possible.

Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and deputy chief investigator for the trial said that the "clear results" emphasised the value of large randomised clinical trials in differentiating drugs that are hoped to work versus those that are known to work.

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