Drug used for hepatitis C might be effective for corona virus, says study

Recent research adds to the growing body of evidence that sofosbuvir and daclatasvir, a drug combination commonly used for the treatment of hepatitis C, can improve clinical outcomes in patients with moderate or severe coronavirus.

The 3 studies, published in Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Journal , researched the use of sofosbuvir and daclatasvir for the treatment of coronavirus.

These 3 studies come from Iran, which has developed its own pill containing sofosbuvir and daclatasvir, and is in a point to test the pill in a large clinical trial as Iran is a massively impacted country, reporting around  2,500 cases and 200 deaths a day.

“Despite the encouraging initial results, it is too early to reach a verdict. Larger, well-designed studies are required to confirm our results,” said the lead author of one of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy articles, Shahin Merat from Tehran University in Iran.

At present no effective antiviral therapy has been found to treat coronavirus. The aim of the trials was to assess if the addition of sofosbuvir and daclatasvir, a drug combination commonly used for the treatment of hepatitis C, improved clinical outcomes in patients infected  with moderate or severe coronavirus.

In single trial, researchers recruited sixty-six patients and allocated them to either the treatment group or the control group. The study founded that clinical recovery within 14 days was achieved by 88% in the treatment group and 67% in the control group. The treatment group had a significantly shorter median duration of hospitalisation  about 6 days than the control group 8 days.

In another study, the subjects suffering from coronavirus were divided into 2 groups with 1 group receiving ribavirin and the other group receiving sofosbuvir/daclatasvir. All participants also received the recommended national standard treatment which, at that time, was lopinavir/ritonavir and single-dose hydroxychloroquine.

The results of the study indicated that the median duration of stay was 5 days for the sofosbuvir/daclatasvir group and 9 days for the ribavirin group. The mortality in the sofosbuvir/daclatasvir group was 6% and 33%  for the ribavirin group. The relative risk of death for patients treated with sofosbuvir/daclatasvir was 0.17%.

The results of these studies suggest that the addition of sofosbuvir and daclatasvir to standard care may reduce the duration of hospital stays for coronavirus infected patients compared to standard care alone.

A study published in the journal The Lancet earlier, found that hepatitis C virus drugs may be effective in treating patients with coronavirus.


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