Results from clinical trials being conducted in China to test drugs for the treatment of Covid-19, commonly known as coronavirus, are expected to be available in the coming weeks.
Reuters has reported that several patients have already been dosed with antiviral drugs ritonavir and lopinavir.
Ritonavir and lopinavir are sold by AbbVie as a combination therapy for HIV under the brand name Kaletra. Chinese health authorities noted the current lack of effective drugs for the new virus and recommended the use of lopinavir and ritonavir.
Kieny was quoted as saying: “It would be excellent if it would work because this drug is available in particular as a generic formulation for the treatment of HIV, so this would clearly be a drug that would be available.
“We don’t know the result, and we still have to wait for a few days, or a few weeks to have a result.”
The former WHO virologist added that the dosing of Covid-19 patients with Gilead’s remdesivir will begin soon.
Remdesivir, which demonstrated a favourable profile in preclinical tests, will be studied in a Phase III clinical trial at Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China, in alliance with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS).
Apart from Friendship Hospital, the trial will enrol a total of 761 patients at multiple hospitals in Wuhan, including the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital.
Bloomberg noted that multiple clinical trials around the new coronavirus are being performed in China. Traditional Chinese medicines are also being evaluated.
As of 12 February, the coronavirus has infected more than 60,300 people in 26 countries and has caused 1,369 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working on a master plan for coordinating trials of therapies for the COVID-19 virus.