Coronavirus Outbreak: In a first, Kerala doctors treat COVID-19 patient with anti-HIV medicine

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Coronavirus in India: In a first, the doctors at Ernakulam Medical College Hospital in Kerala administered a combination of anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir to treat a patient infected by COVID-19, according to a report in OnManorama. The pill has been presented as a potential medicine to cure the novel coronavirus, even as a recent study has contradicted the claim, the report added. The combination of the anti-HIV drugs was used on several patients in China's Wuhan, and has reportedly also been tested on patients in Rajasthan and Odisha.

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A UK patient who was removed from a Dubai-bound flight at the Cochin International Airport on Sunday had been admitted at the Ernakulam medical college.

The OnManorama report stated that the Principal of the Ernakulam Medical College Dr Thomas Mathew and the doctors decided to revise the treatment and administer the medicine starting Wednesday night when the patient was also diagnosed with pneumonia. The report also quoted Dr Mathew as saying that the other three patients of coronavirus-induced COVID-19 admitted at the hospital are stable and are hence being administered only supporting medicines.

He further added, according to the report, that the hospital is administering the medicine to the UK patient with his consent, and they got the approval of the State Medical Board and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). He further said that he couldn't comment on the effectiveness of the drug as it was too early to tell and informed that the patient's wife, who was also in the isolation ward, has tested negative for the disease.

Meanwhile, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday stated that the treatment is not effective, OnManorama report said. The study, according to the report, stated that 99 patients of COVID-19 who were given a combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir did not perform any better than 100 patients who were given standard care, with the one who were administered the anti-HIV drug showing clinical improvement in 15 days and those with standard care showing clinical improvement in 16 days.

So far, the number of positive cases of coronavirus in India has crossed 160 and as many as 4 patients have died.