Triple drug therapy helps coronavirus patients recover more quickly

11 May, 2020

A combination of three antiviral drugs plus an immune system booster seemed to help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus infections, doctors in Hong Kong reported Friday.

They said the approach needs more testing but it could offer another treatment possibility for Covid-19 patients. Currently the only authorized treatment is the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which also shortens the duration of illness but is limited in supply.

Dr. Kwok-Yung Yuen at Hong Kong University and colleagues tested the HIV drug combination of ritonavir and lopanivir along with the general antiviral drug ribavirin and a multiple sclerosis drug called beta interferon.

The study states that 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. And also, they added that there were few side effects. 

"In Covid-19 we don't have the luxury of time," Chin-Hong said. "This is one of the treatment options where we are teaching old drugs new tricks. We don't have the time to take a drug rationally from beginning to end because we have a crisis right now. We have to make do with what we have."