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COVID-19: HIV Drug Could Be Beneficial For Coronavirus Patients

The world is together in the fight against the global pandemic of coronavirus or covid-19, which has 1,700,870 cases and caused 102,789 deaths since its advent in December 2019. With hundreds of medical agencies and health experts crucially working on the case to develop an effective vaccine or treatment for coronavirus, there are almost 70 existing drugs that have the possible potential to target the coronavirus, with many of them have been already approved for other diseases.

According to a recent report, the HIV drug has been asserted to be beneficial for individuals suffering from coronavirus [1].

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HIV Drug Beneficial To Coronvirus Patients

Doctors from the primary hospital treating severe coronavirus patients in the city of Wuhan expressed that they have been using HIV drugs since January to treat the patients and stand by the claim that the specific drug is beneficial. This comes to light when a previous study had asserted the drugs to be ineffective in the treatment of coronavirus.

The HIV drug, called Kaletra has been in use for months in the hospital where the drug is being prescribed along with a second drug, bismuth potassium citrate [2]. The HIV drug Kaletra is an off-patent version of lopinavir/ritonavir [3]. The drug Kaletra was also used in the treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) [4].

Dr Zhang Dingyu, one of the doctors in the hospital in Wuhan said, "We believe taking this drug is beneficial. Doctors at Jinyintan had started prescribing the drug to their patients on 6 January" - one of the first hospitals to start treating the coronavirus infections since its emergence in December [5].

According to a study published by the BioScience Trends journal, Kaletra in combination with the flu drug arbidol and traditional Chinese medicine were used to treat coronavirus patients, who showed positive improvements [6].

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Previous Study Claimed The HIV Drug To Be Ineffective

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that the HIV drug, Kaletra, also known as Aluvia, was not effective as a potential treatment for coronavirus infected patients [7].

The doctors at the primary hospital added that "the data set used by the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine had included patients who had not taken the drug before passing away and others whose doctors had decided against prescribing it. You have to look at the supplementary material" [8].

This was supported by the proof that three medical workers from Wuhan had started taking Kaletra 2-3 days after symptoms of the virus surfaced showed improved respiratory conditions and towards the end of the HIV drug course, the improvement in the patients with symptoms was positive [9].

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Other Possible Drugs For Coronavirus Treatment

The report also stated that the hospitals used bismuth potassium citrate, which was used during the SARS outbreak in 2003 [10]. Bismuth potassium citrate is used in the treatment of gastroduodenal disorders, where it decreases the amount of acid in the stomach. Also, this form of salt is used to Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial infection involved in causing stomach ulcers [11].

Bismuth potassium citrate was prescribed to a large number of hospital staff in the event of a cluster infection and after the use, no other cluster infections were reported in the hospital. Another treatment method is plasma therapy using the blood of patients who had recovered from the virus, where one patient who had been on a ventilator, recovered on its application [12].

The report also stated that these hospitals in China have not made use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment. "Hydroxychloroquine's toxicity is much better than chloroquine but we received hydroxychloroquine quite late so did not try it" [13].

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On A Final Note…

With hundreds of researchers and doctors extensively working on developing a potent cure for the coronavirus disease, there is hope for a positive result.

Read more about: covid 19 coronavirus hiv
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