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HIV treatment has no benefit for hospitalised COVID-19 patients - study

Mon, 5th Oct 2020 23:30

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A combination of antiviral drugs
usually used to treat HIV has no beneficial effect in patients
hospitalised with COVID-19, a peer-reviewed study said on
Monday, confirming the initial results of a large-scale
randomised trial of the drug.

British scientists running the RECOVERY trial at the
University of Oxford in June said interim results had
convincingly ruled out any meaningful benefit of
lopinavir-ritonavir in lowering mortality among hospitalised
patients.

Publishing the full findings of the study in The Lancet
medical journal, the scientists said that 23% of those given the
drugs died within 28 days of treatment beginning, compared to
22% of those given usual care.

The treatment also did not reduce the length of a patient's
hospital stay or the chances they would be put on a ventilator.

"Results from this trial show that it is not an effective
treatment for patients admitted to hospital with COVID–19," said
Professor Martin Landray from the Nuffield Department of
Population Health at the University of Oxford, who co-leads the
RECOVERY trial.

AbbVie Inc's Kaletra is a combination of the drugs
lopinavir and ritonavir, used together to fight HIV. The company
had increased its supplies while it was determining whether it
can be used to treat COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in July discontinued its
trial of lopinavir-ritonavir after it failed to reduce
mortality.

The lopinavir-ritonavir arm of the RECOVERY trial involved
1,616 patients receiving the drugs, and 3,424 receiving usual
care alone.

The Oxford-based RECOVERY trial has been examining the
effectiveness of a range of possible COVID-19 treatments,
enrolling 13,000 patients in all.

The arm of the trial studying dexamethasone, a steroid,
found it reduced the death rate of patients that required
oxygen. Another arm found the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine,
touted by U.S. President Donald Trump, had no benefit as a
treatment.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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