The Economic Times reported that the anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir can be used to treat COVID-19 patients in severe cases, according to a treatment protocol published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
The protocol suggests that lopinavir and ritonavir can be used in adults who are confirmed positive for COVID-19 and have complications such as severe respiratory distress, very low blood pressure and new-onset organ dysfunction.
According to the ICMR, inclusion of the anti-HIV drugs for treating COVID-19 was based on earlier evidence about their effectiveness against the SARS and MERS coronaviruses, as well as docking studies conducted by India's National Institute of Virology.
"Use of IFN-B1b and ribavarin was not considered due to their reported toxicity whereas oseltamivir was not considered due to its unproven efficacy against (coronaviruses)," states the treatment protocol.
In a recent draft report made public by World Health Organisation, experts claimed that lopinavir and ritonavir, either alone or in combination with IFNbeta, was the suitable second option for rapid implementation in clinical trials among the repurposed drugs under consideration for COVID-19.
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