Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, scientists all over the world have been struggling to develop an effective treatment to curtail the virus.
A number of hopeful treatments for the novel coronavirus have been named, including the broad-spectrum antiviral medication remdesivir.
Another major headway seems to have been made in the hope of finding an effective treatment for coronavirus disease. A combination of three antiviral drugs plus an immune system booster has been found to help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus infections.
Doctors in Hong Kong who reported the news on Friday said the approach needs more testing but could offer another treatment possibility for COVID-19 patients.
Currently, the only authorized treatment for COVID-19 is the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir.
Early studies found remdesivir to be “moderately effective” against coronavirus disease (the drug was found to shorten the duration of illness), but more trials are still being conducted to determine the drug’s true potential for treating COVID-19.
In the absence of better alternatives, the FDA has approved the emergency use of remdesivir for treating more needy patients as the drug is limited in supply.
The combination therapy discovered by the Hong Kong doctors involved two HIV drugs, ritonavir and lopanivir, along with the general antiviral drug ribavirin and a multiple sclerosis drug called beta interferon.
The doctors gave some patients only the HIV drug combination, often sold under the brand name Kaletra. Others were randomly assigned to get the lopinavir-ritonavir combination plus the antiviral drug ribavirin and injections of beta interferon.
The patients who got the cocktail tested negative for coronavirus after seven days on average. Those who just got the HIV drugs were positive on average for 12 days, the team reported in the medical journal, Lancet.
The patients given the cocktail also felt better quicker, with symptoms disappearing after four days.
“Early triple antiviral therapy was safe and superior to lopinavir-ritonavir alone in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of viral shedding and hospital stay in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19,” the researchers wrote. There were few side effects, they added.
In other news, China has reported new spikes in coronavirus cases. The new cases were detected near the North Korean border, prompting officials to take immediate action to prevent a second wave of COVID-19.