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A phase-2 trial involving participants with mild to moderate coronavirus (COVID-19) illness found no detectable virus within an average seven days of starting treatment with a three-drug regimen compared with 12 days in people in the control group.
- Lopinavir-ritonavir is used for treating HIV, ribavirin for treating chronic hepatitis C virus, and injectable interferon beta-1b is used by multiple sclerosis patients.
- The researchers had earlier demonstrated that a combination of lopinavir–ritonavir and ribavirin significantly reduced mortality and respiratory failure in patients during the 2003 SARS outbreak. And interferon beta-1b has previously been shown to reduce viral load and improve lung problems in animal studies of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus infection.
- Clinical improvement was also significantly better in those who received the three-drug regimen.
- Complete alleviation of symptoms was achieved in four days in the intervention group and eight days in the control group.
- The three-drug regimen was found to be safe.