Triple combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin in the treatment of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19: an open-label, randomised, phase 2 trial

RCT (n=127) found that those given triple therapy (a regimen of lopinavir, ritonavir, ribavirin, and international units of interferon beta-1b) had a shorter median time to negative nasopharyngeal swab (7 vs 12 days, p=0.0010) vs lopinavir/ritonavir alone.

SPS commentary:

A related commentary states that this study provides much needed data on a potential therapeutic regimen for SARS-CoV-2. Although lopinavir–ritonavir was not efficacious in treating SARS-CoV-2 in a recent trial, it is unknown whether this might be partly related to delayed enrolment (median 14 days from symptom onset). The use of placebo as a control in the absence of proven effective therapy is therefore ideal. Additionally, earlier enrolment to standardise the number of interferon beta-1b doses is important but might be impractical, particularly because patients might not present to hospitals earlier than 7 days, when symptoms typically worsen. This study however presents a step towards finding a much needed therapy for SARS-CoV-2. But, as the authors acknowledge, future studies to examine the efficacy of interferon beta-1b alone or in combination with other drugs to treat severe or critically ill patients with confirmed COVID-19 compared with placebo are warranted.


The Lancet

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