Disappointing Results In 1st Chinese Virus Study

A man and a boy walk past a double-decker bus that is used as a cafe, symbolically wearing a face mask, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 18. 2020. Ukraine has so far reported more then ten confirmed cases of the new virus and two deaths. Ukrainian government closed the country's border last week, shut down schools and banned public events, suspended public transportation and imposed fines for violating quarantine protocols.For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

BEIJING (AP) – Scientists in China are reporting disappointing results from the first study completed on a potential COVID-19 treatment.

A combination of two antiviral drugs that are used now to treat HIV — lopinavir and ritonavir — did not resolve symptoms quicker than usual care did. The study involving 199 hospitalized, severely ill patients was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, “intriguing” signs were seen in some other results. There were slightly fewer deaths among those given the drugs but the comparison group that received just usual care also was sicker, making this information hard to interpret, two editors wrote in an editorial in the journal.

Many other medicines are still being tested in various experiments including remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that has shown some promise against viruses similar to the one causing COVID-19.

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