The hunt continues, as lopinavir not associated with clinical benefits in COVID-19 cases

In a recent trial conducted, patients were treated with lopinavir-ritonavir, but the drugs in addition to standard supportive care did not yield any appreciable result.

The novel Coronavirus is known to cause respiratory illness among people in varying degrees of severity, but to date, no drugs have proven to be effective in combating the said virus. Lopinavir, an anti-HIV is currently in the limelight, due to its positive in-vitro effects on previous coronavirus- SARS, and MERS.

In a recent study around 199 adults diagnosed with severe COVID-19 were individually randomized for a trial involving lopinavir-ritonavir. Along with drugs, the patients also received standard care like antibiotics and supplemental oxygen. This open-label trial found no significant difference in clinical improvement between the lopinavir-ritonavir and the standard care group of patients. In addition to this, the mortality and the percentage of people affected by the viral RNA were seen to be similar between patients. While any serious adverse events were less common in patients on lopinavir-ritonavir, gastrointestinal adverse events occurred more frequently.

While some positives, the trial faced some major limitations, when the majority of the patient’s group could not finish the whole course of administration and the overall mortality was seen twice as high as initially reported cases. Future trials should involve more heterogeneous populations or by using different combinations of antiviral agents which will continue to guide strategy in addressing this novel pandemic. 

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Lopinavir-ritonavir not associated with clinical benefit in patients with severe COVID-19