HIV, malarial drugs taken off list of probable medicines for COVID-19 — DOH

Published July 5, 2020, 4:19 PM

by Analou de Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) announced that it will stop giving the anti-HIV drug combination– lopinavir and ritonavir– to hospitalized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the ongoing “Solidarity Trial” led by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“Based on the recent evidence and recommendations from our experts, we will be stopping the use of lopinavir and ritonavir among hospitalized patients,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters on Sunday. 

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire

This is in compliance with the WHO’s decision to discontinue the use of these anti-HIV drugs as well as the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine due to “little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.” 

“We have already discontinued hydroxychloroquine early on when the evidence for this came out,” said Vergeire. 

“We will have remdesivir plus interferon as the new regimen…and standard of care once shipment of interferon arrives,” she added. 

Under the WHO-led trial, four drugs are being investigated as possible treatment for COVID-19 namely: antiviral Remdesivir, antimalarial Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir with Ritonavir, and Interferon. 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo recently said that there is positive feedback on the use of Remdesivir based on the initial results of the trial. 

“Nakikita na umiikli yung kanilang time na nagkakasakit. Galing sa 15, nababawasan to 11 days. So pag nababawasan ang time na may sakit, possibly mababawasan din mga namamatay dito. [It appears that it has reduced the length of illness, from 15 to 11 days. If it is able to reduce the time of a patient being sick, it can also possibly prevent death],” he said. 

Meanwhile, Domingo urged the public not to easily believe in certain medications being advertised on social media claiming to be an effective cure or can prevent COVID-19.

Domingo called on the public to have more patience since the development of an effective treatment or vaccine is a tedious process. 

“Ang gamot talagang maraming pinagdadaanan. Maraming kailangang scientific na ebidensya. Kaya huwag tayo mainip, huwag tayo maging desperado na bawat marinig natin ay bibilin natin, iinjection natin, or iinumin natin. Maari tayong maperwisyo. [Medicines undergo a tedious process and there is scientific evidence needed. Don’t be impatient and act desperately by immediately believing those that we hear and buy them, then injecting or consuming them],” he said.