Wearing masks may increase your risk of coronavirus infection, expert says
The patients in the study all had mild to moderate symptoms and were given the combination drug within seven days of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The researchers believe that treating the patients early in the disease process is more effective than those who already developed severe symptoms. Promising results
The patients who received the drug combination tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 after seven days, while those who just took the HIV drugs, had an average of 12 days before testing negative for the virus.
Secondary outcomes supported the findings, showing that the clinical improvement was better in the triple antiviral group. The patients experienced the alleviation of symptoms on an average of four days, compared to eight days in the two-drug combination group. Further, those who received the triple combination drugs had a shorter hospital stay of nine days, compared to 14.5 days in the control group.
“Our trial demonstrates that early treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 with a triple combination of antiviral drugs may rapidly suppress the amount of virus in a patient’s body, relieve symptoms, and reduce the risk to health-care workers by reducing the duration and quantity of viral shedding (when the virus is detectable and potentially transmissible). Furthermore, the treatment combination appeared safe and well-tolerated by patients,” Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, from the University of Hong Kong and study lead researcher, said.
During the treatment, a patient in the control group developed a serious side effect affecting the liver, which prompted the discontinuation of the treatment. In the treatment group, no adverse event was reported, and no patient died during the study duration. There are fewer side effects, such as nausea, fever, and diarrhea.
The researchers said that despite promising results of the trial, which is published in The Lancet , the combination should be tested and confirmed in a more extensive phase 3 trial.
“This study presents a step towards finding a much-needed therapy for SARS-CoV-2. However, as the authors acknowledge, future studies to examine the efficacy of interferon beta-1b alone or in combination with other drugs to treat severe or critically ill patients with confirmed COVID-19 compared with placebo are warranted,” Dr. Sarah Shalhoub, from Western University in Canada who was not involved in the study, said.
The race for treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic is game on since the number of infections topped 4.17 million, and the death toll over 286,000. The United States is the hardest-hit nation, with more than 1.34 million infections and more than 80,000 deaths. Source: COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) - https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 Journal reference: Hung, I., Lung, K.C., Tso, E.Y., Liu, R., Chung, T.W., and Chu, M.Y. et al. (2020). Triple combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin in the treatment of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19: an open-label, randomised, phase 2 trial. The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31042-4/fulltext
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