Lopinavir–ritonavir was proposed as a treatment for COVID-19 on the basis of in-vitro activity, preclinical studies, and observational studies.
A study published Monday in peer-reviewed medical journal the Lancet indicates that antiviral drug lopinavir-ritonavir is not an effective treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Treatment of COVID-19 with lopinavir-ritonavir has been recommended as a first-line or second-line in many countries,” said Professor Martin Landray of the “Recovery” trial, before adding that the drug is not an effective treatment for hospitalized patients.
In the studied period between March 19, 2020, and June 29, 2020, 1,616 COVID-19 patients were randomly subject to lopinavir-ritonavir treatment and 3,424 others to standard care.
Lopinavir-ritonavir did not prove reductions in 28-day mortality or the duration of the COVID-19 patient’s hospital stay. The antiviral also led to no reductions in the risk of progressing to invasive ventilation or death.
The WHO halted the lopinavir-ritonavir monotherapy after the declaration of the preliminary results on June 29.
The Recovery trial has significantly improved knowledge about COVID-19 treatments.
Although scientists are evaluating dozens of COVID-19 treatments worldwide, dexamethasone is so far the only one to have proven efficacy in reducing mortality.
Recovery is also evaluating several other treatments. Regeneron’s experimental synthetic antibody cocktail, tocilizumab, and plasma from people who contracted the virus are under experiment.
The Lancet’s statement underlined that “many clinical care guidelines have recommended lopinavir-ritonavir for the treatment of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. These guidelines should be updated.”