NEW DELHI: HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir — which were initially tried in India against Covid-19 for a brief period — have not shown any significant benefit in treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients or in reducing mortality among them, researchers in the RECOVERY trial at the University of Oxford have reported.
The trial steering committee decided there is no beneficial effect of lopinavir and ritonavir combination in patients hospitalised with Covid-19 and closed randomisation to that treatment arm.
“These data convincingly rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of lopinavir-ritonavir in the hospitalised Covid-19 patients we studied,” the researchers said in a statement.
A total of 1,596 patients were randomised to Lopinavir-Ritonavir and compared to 3,376 patients randomised to usual care alone. Of these patients, 4% required invasive mechanical ventilation when they entered the trial; 70% required oxygen alone and 26% required no respiratory intervention at all.
“There was no significant difference in endpoint 28-day mortality between the two groups. There was also no evidence of beneficial effects on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation of length of hospital stay,” said the researchers.
These combination drugs were temporarily used in India for COVID-19 management after doctors at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Hospital administered the combination on two Italian patients, and claimed success.
However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) soon dropped the use of the combination drug for COVID-19 treatment after some studies indicated at adverse effects.