They said the approach needs more testing but it could offer another treatment possibility for Covid-19 patients. Currently the only authorized treatment in the US is the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which also shortens the duration of illness but is limited in supply.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, who is treating coronavirus patients at the University of California San Francisco, said the study offers new hope in the pandemic.
"This study is really refreshing because it tells us remdesivir isn't the only game in town and maybe there are other options around," he told CNN.
Dr. Kwok-Yung Yuen at Hong Kong University and colleagues tested the HIV drug combination of ritonavir and lopanivir along with the general antiviral drug ribavirin and a multiple sclerosis drug called beta interferon.
Yuen's team gave some patients only the HIV drug combination, often sold under the brand name Kaletra. Others were randomly assigned to get the lopinavir-ritonavir combination plus the antiviral drug ribavirin and injections of beta interferon.
The patients who got the cocktail tested negative for coronavirus after seven days on average. Those who just got the HIV drugs were positive on average for 12 days, the team reported in the Lancet medical journal.
The patients given the cocktail also felt better quicker -- within four days.
Read the full story here.