DOST analysis finds malaria, HIV drugs not recommended as treatment for COVID-19

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has found that the drugs used in the treatment of malaria and HIV are ineffective against the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO/ Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena said in a weekly public report held over Facebook on Friday, July 10, that the finding is based on a completed analysis on the said drugs.

“Based on analysis done for chloroquine and lopinavir and ritonavir ay nakita po na ito daw ay ineffective at hindi recommended to be used (it has been seen as ineffective and not recommended for use),” the secretary announced.

De la Pena said they tested the drugs as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trials, which aims to assess and provide reliable estimates on any effects of several antivirals in treating patients with COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used to prevent or treat malaria, while lopinavir/ritonavir is used as medication for patients with HIV.

Meanwhile, testing is still ongoing for other drugs.

“Ongoing pa ang ating pag-o-observe o pag-a-analyze para sa remdesivir at interferon (We continue to observe and analyze the use of remdesivir and interferon),” de la Pena said.

Remdesivir has been used in the treatment of patients with the Ebola virus, while interferon has been used mainly for cancer patients.

The DOST is funding the WHO Solidarity Trials in the country at P29.99 million.

According to de la Pena, more COVID-19 patients have enrolled in the WHO Solidarity Trials.

“Ang total number of patients sa ating WHO Solidarity Trials for drugs ay umabot na po ng 600 ang nag-participate (The total number of patients participating in the WHO Solidarity Trials have reached 600),” he said.

The WHO aims to reach 5,000 participants worldwide.