A team of Chinese scientists has shown that the combination of three antiviral drugs is “promising” for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients with mild or moderate disease.

Specifically, researchers have found that early treatment with a triple therapy of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin is safe and shortens the duration of viral excretion compared to the drug lopinavir-ritonavir alone: ​​an average of seven days vs 12.

These are the results of a phase II randomized clinical trial and the authors of the study state that larger phase III studies are needed with critically ill patients to confirm whether this triple antiviral therapy can provide a clinical benefit. significant.

And it is that, in the most seriously ill patients, the virus has had more time to replicate.

The results were published in The Lancet magazine and its managers are researchers from the University of Hong Kong.

127 patients from six public hospitals in that city participated in the study and a part was treated in a two-week cycle with the three medications.

COVID-19 patients present the peak of their viral load around the time symptoms appear. “Our trial demonstrates that early treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 with a combination of three antiviral drugs can rapidly suppress the amount of virus in the patient,” they say.

The $ 100 kit may be sent to the patient’s home.

But also, says researcher Kwok-Yung Yuen, it can alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk for health workers, by reducing the duration and amount of excretion of the virus – when the virus is detectable and potentially transmissible.

Furthermore, this three-drug therapy “appears safe and well tolerated by patients.”

Previous research has already determined that a combination of oral lopinavir-ritonavir (normally used to treat HIV) and ribavirin (an oral drug against the hepatitis C virus) significantly reduced respiratory failure and deaths of patients hospitalized for the syndrome. Severe Acute Respiratory (SARS) during the 2003 outbreak.

Developed to treat multiple sclerosis, interferon beta-1b has also been shown to reduce viral load and improve lung problems in animal studies of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) infection.