Cocktail of 3 antiviral drugs
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Cocktail of 3 antiviral drugs helps coronavirus patients recover rapidly

Researchers, who have been working to find a therapy for COVID-19 by repurposing existing medications, claim to have found a cocktail drink of 3 medicines that reduce recovery time effectively for individuals with a mild to moderate condition.

As per the study, early treatment with the cocktail combination of 3 antiviral drugs – interferon beta-1b with lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin helps in reducing the duration of virus shedding as well as minimizing symptoms. The study is published in the journal – The Lancet on 8 May 2020.

The patients on treatment improved more quickly, 5 days earlier than the average compared to a group getting a combination of just two-drugs ritonavir and lopinavir.

The study said, “Triple antiviral treatment with interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin was safe in reducing virus shedding and superior to lopinavir-ritonavir alone, easing signs, and helping with the discharge of patients with mild to modest COVID-19 infection”.

This treatment with the triple antiviral combination rapidly rendered viral load negative in all samples, consequently lowering the infectiousness of the person and also their chances of spreading the disease.

Of the 3 antiviral medicines, lopinavir-ritonavir is used to treat

HIV, ribavirin is used to treat Hepatitis C, and Interferon beta-1b is an injectable medicine utilized to treat multiple sclerosis, and is also known to suppress viral development.

The research was a preliminary phase 2 trial performed to examine if a treatment works. Nevertheless, it does not determine whether the treatment is much better than other alternatives.

How the research study was performed?

An overall of 127 patients took part in the study, of which 86 patients were arbitrarily chosen as well as provided the triple medicine treatment.

The 41 patients remaining were kept as a control group, who just obtained lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin.

The study was conducted in six major public medical facilities in Hong Kong, and all 3 medications were taken orally during the research.

In the group with combination medicine, 52 people were admitted to hospital less than 7 days from onset of symptoms, and 34 individuals were admitted to hospital 7 days or more after symptoms started to show up. The study said, “The average received dose of interferon beta-1b was 2. For the combination group, the average time from the onset of symptom to begin of therapy was 5 days (between 4-7 days), and for the control group the average time was 4 days (between 3-8 days)”.

Scientists found that patients treated with the triple combination had the ability to clear the coronavirus in 7 days on average (between 5-11 days) versus the control group that took an average of 12-days.

Every group had a similar age, sex, and standard demographics. The most common symptoms were fever and unproductive cough, and few patients had diarrhea, and anosmia (smell blindness).

Author: Sruthi S