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DOH ends hydroxychloroquine, HIV drug trials on COVID-19

The Department of Health (DOH) withdrew the use of hydroxychloroquine, as well as the combination of HIV drugs lopinavir-ritonavir under the World Health Organization's (WHO's) solidarity trial, on COVID-19 patients.

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

“We have already discontinued Hydroxychloroquine early on when the evidence for this came out,” she added.

According to Vergeire, patients who started using these drugs would complete the medication series. However, they had the discretion to stop if they did not wish not to continue.

Vergeire noted that they will now use a combination of remdesivir and interferon for the course of medical treatment against COVID-19, from previously using the two drugs separately.

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

On Saturday, the WHO discontinued its trials on the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the combination HIV drugs in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 after they failed to have any effect on the illness.

"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,” it said.

“Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect," the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicountry trials that the agency is leading,” it added. — DVM, GMA News