UK native cured of Covid-19 using HIV drug

UK native cured of Covid-19 using HIV drug

Kochi: A British national, administered with a combination of anti-HIV drugs by doctors at the Ernakulam Medical College in the south Indian state of Kerala, has tested negative for deadly Covid-19.

The development has raised hopes for an effective medication to treat the infection that has snuffed out 21300 lives globally so far. This is for the first time in the state that the combination of Ritonavir and Lopinavir was used to treat the novel coronavirus infection.

The 76-year old UK tourist, along with his wife, was admitted to the hospital on March 15. “The patient was given the drug for seven days. The sample test done on third day of administering the drugs itself turned negative. Another test on March 23 too returned negative. Six others in the group, who had turned positive for the disease, is still under treatment while five others were discharged,” a hospital statement said.

The drug combination was already used to treat an Italian couple, tested positive for the disease, at a hospital in Jaipur after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had given its nod. The duo too had recovered, though, one of them later died of cardiac arrest. Following their recovery, the ICMR had approved the use of this drug combination in patients above 60.

The ICMR had also advised use of an anti-Malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for health workers and asymptomatic household contacts of lab-confirmed cases. The same was approved by the Drug Controller General of India for restricted use in emergency situations and banned the export of the pills besides restricting its sale to rule out shortage. 

Meanwhile, the development of a vaccine against the deadly disease could be months away. Though nearly 35 companies and academic institutions have started efforts in this line and the human trial of a potential vaccine started, the testing will take much more time.

“A vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable. [It will take] a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go,” said Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US.

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