Which COVID-19 Antivirals Actually Work?

In emergency rooms around the world, doctors and nurses are writing the playbook for treatment of COVID-19. With so much about the virus, the disease, and effect of various treatments still evolving, doctors are improvising on the spot trying to figure out the approach that will give their patients the best shot at survival.

Antiviral medications are among the options that doctors are considering as a way to treat the disease. The drugs work on SARS-CoV-2 itself, targeting the functions of the virus and preventing it from replicating in the body. As I wrote about in a column earlier today, a group of physicians in Hong Kong recently reported success with a cocktail of antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19. 

The four drugs used include lopinavir and ritonavir (two anti-HIV drugs), ribavarin (a broad spectrum inhibitor of RNA viruses), and interferon-1beta (a drug that stimulates antiviral immune responses). Their study shows that treatment with the cocktail can reduce recovery time from 12 days to 7 in patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

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Originally published on Forbes (May 11, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.