The research against coronavirus moves on… After trials on chloroquine – that ultimately ended rather inconclusive – or those on dexamethasone – reducing mortality in severely sick patients – leaders of the wide British Recovery clinical trial have announced the antiviral lopinavir and ritonavir cocktail – usually used against HIV – at the heart of a study, has “no benefit in hospitalized COVID-19 patients”.
“These preliminary results show that for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and not on a ventilator, lopinavir-ritonavir is not an effective treatment” Oxford university professor and head of the clinical trial Peter Horny says. Results do not allow to draw definitive conclusions, the number of patients who have got this treatment being not enough because of “difficulty administering the drug” as the scientific team explains in a release.
As for details of the clinical trial, it included a group of 1,596 patients who have been given the drug, and another group of 3,376 patients who have been given regular treatment to be used as a control group. In both groups, 4% where on ventilators when they have been included in the clinical trial, 70% have been given oxygen without being intubated, and 26% did not need to be on respiratory assistance.
As for results, they speak for themselves: no significant difference has been notice on the patients’ fatality at this stage of the disease, whether they have been administered the drug or not within 28 days (the fatality rate reaches 22.1% for the group treated, against 21.3% for the group that has been given standard treatments). A drug for which there was “also no evidence of beneficial effects on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation or length of hospital stay” the Recovery release reads.
A clinical trial that keeps on searching, yet gives results, while waiting to discover a vaccine. One of the most promising being developed by the Institut Pasteur will see clinical trials in humans be launched this summer.