The World Health Organization has discontinued trials of the combination HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir as a combined treatment for hospitalized coronavirus patients after interim results showed the drugs “produce little or no reduction in the mortality” of COVID-19 patients, after a recommendation from the International Steering Committee advising the same.
The Solidarity Trial, established by WHO, is working to find a working treatment in hospitalized patients. The committee formulated the recommendation after comparing HCQ, lopinavir/ritonavir with standard-of-care treatment from the Solidarity trial's interim results.
“WHO today accepted the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial’s hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms,” WHO said in a press release.
WHO said these interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.
Hydroxychloroquine is also used in rheumatoid conditions like arthritis. The drug garnered excitement earlier in the year after several small studies suggested it could be help treat coronavirus.
This decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity Trial in hospitalized patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for covid-19, the WHO said.