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Vietnam to trial HIV drug on coronavirus patients
The Saigon Times Daily
Tuesday,  Feb 11, 2020,14:21 (GMT+7)

Vietnam to trial HIV drug on coronavirus patients

The Saigon Times Daily

A researcher works at a laboratory – PHOTO: ENTERNEWS.VN

HCMC – Vietnamese scientists will trial a drug that has long been used to treat people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as a possible therapy against the novel coronavirus, which has killed over 1,000 people in China.

Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh recently approved an independent study to assess the effectiveness and safety of using a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, as a possible treatment for the acute respiratory disease.

The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases will collaborate with the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the National Pharmacovigilance Center as well as other agencies from the Ministry of Health to carry out the study.

The group of researchers will either have a four-week trial period or will test the drug in more than 10 coronavirus patients. Later, they will evaluate the effectiveness of clinical, subclinical and virological responses as well as the safety of using a combination of two anti-HIV drugs.

The Ministry of Science and Technology expects that based on the results of the research, the group may propose the use of lopinavir and ritonavir as a treatment for patients with coronavirus infections.

It will take roughly one year for researchers to determine the effectiveness and safety of the drug combination.

In China, the National Health Commission was quoted by Reuters as saying that the HIV drugs can be used on coronavirus patients, without specifying how they might help.

Doctors in Thailand who have been caring for infected patients claimed a combination of flu and HIV medications may be able to treat severe cases of the new virus.

The team’s approach, which uses large doses of the flu drug oseltamivir combined with HIV drugs, improved the condition of several patients at the Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok.

“This is not the cure, but the patient’s condition has vastly improved,” Rajavithi Hospital’s Kriangsak Atipornwanich said of one 70-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, in a Reuters report.

“Despite testing positive for 10 days under our care, after applying this combination of medicine, the test result became negative within 48 hours,” he added.

The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to climb in mainland China, their officials stated on Tuesday. The Chinese government put the nationwide figure at 1,016 deaths, up by 108 from the day before, when it was 908. The number of cases of infection has also grown, to over 42,638. The figure for the day before was 40,171.

Vietnam has so far recorded 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with the latest being a three-month girl, who was infected by her grandmother. A total of six people have been cured of the virus and released from hospital.

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