COVID-19 Patient in Spain Treated With HIV Antivirals, Recovers
A 62-year-old man who became Spain’s first coronavirus patient is believed to have made a full recovery after being treated with an HIV drug, according to a report.
Miguel Ángel Benítez was hospitalized at the Virgen del Rocio Hospital in Seville, where he received lopinavir-ritonavir, an antiretroviral drug sold under the brand name Kaletra, according to Metro UK, which cited El Pais.
The drug — which has been used to treat HIV and AIDS for over 10 years — was combined with interferon beta, a protein that prevents cells from becoming infected and is used on people with multiple sclerosis patients, the news outlet reported.
Lopinavir-ritonavir is part of a class of medications known as protease inhibitors, which interfere with an enzyme necessary in viral replication. Protease inhibitors limit viral reproduction, allowing the patient’s immune system to fight back.
Santiago Moreno, head of infectious diseases at the Ramón y Cajal hospital in Madrid, said the “SARS-CoV-2 protease is very similar to that of HIV,” using another name for the novel coronavirus.
“This enzyme is essential for the virus to replicate. The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir inhibits and blocks HIV,” he said, according to Metro.