What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a serious infectious disease outbreak that has spread worldwide. It is part of a family of viruses called coronaviruses that infect both animals and people. This particular one originated in China in late 2019, in the city of Wuhan. In the past two decades coronavirus outbreaks have caused global concern. It includes one in 2003 with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and more recently in 2012 with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 can cause symptoms very similar to the flu – aches and pain, dry cough, fever, fatigue, and nasal congestion. As the pandemic spread around the world, other symptoms such as a loss of sense of smell or taste have emerged. Coronavirus Disease or known as COVID-19 is named for its appearance. The virus looks like they are covered with a pointed structure that surrounds them like corona or crown under the microscope.
Where does Lopinavir-Ritonavir is being used and how it works?
Lopinavir-Ritonavir is used for treating infections with the HIV. It is in a class of drugs called protease inhibitors. Although both Lopinavir and Ritonavir inhibit the HIV virus and are combined in Kaletra. Ritonavir increases the concentration of Lopinavir in the body. In fact, the activity of this drug against HIV is due to the Lopinavir because the amount of Ritonavir is not enough to inhibit the HIV virus.
During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the cells of the body. Viruses are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, HIV infection is perpetuated among new cells that the body makes continually. During the production of the viruses, there are new proteins for the viruses. Some of the proteins are structural proteins, which forms the body of the virus. Other proteins are enzymes which manufacture DNA and other components for the new viruses. Protease is the enzyme that forms the new structural proteins and enzymes.
The Lopinavir blocks the action of protease and results in the formation of defective viruses that are unable to infect the body’s cells. As a result, the number of viruses in the body decreases.
Lopinavir-Ritonavir for COVID-19
Ritonavir-Lopinavir is one of the prescriptions used in some studies for the treatment of Coronavirus Disease. The initial trial is investigated whether anti-viral drugs used to treat HIV would relieve the symptoms of COVID-19. The trial saw 199 COVID-19 patients at Jin Yin-Tan Hospital treated either using standard of care or being given Ritonavir-Lopinavir. The results showed enough promise that a larger trials of the Ritonavir-Lopinavir treatment have now been established. Specifically, the trial showed that patients who were randomly chosen to receive Ritonavir-Lopinavir appeared to improve faster. Meanwhile, among those patients who actually received Ritonavir-Lopinavir, the time to clinical improvement was significantly shorter than in patients receiving standard of care alone. At the same time acceptable safety levels were observed.