Flu, HIV medicine as cure for coronavirus yet to be proven: WHO official

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2020 05:49 PM

A nurse wearing a protective face mask leaves an area where patients suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus are placed in quarantine at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, February 3, 2020. Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters

MANILA- There is no evidence yet proving that a combination of medications for flu and HIV is the cure for cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, a World Health Organization representative said Monday after some Thai doctors reported success with such methods.

Doctors from Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok said a new approach in coronavirus treatment had improved the condition of several patients under their care, including one 70-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who tested positive for the coronavirus for 10 days.

The drug treatment includes a mixture of anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, in combination with flu drug oseltamivir in large doses.

While the treatment was reported to have improved the condition of a patient with coronavirus, the WHO has yet to consider this as the cure, said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative in the Philippines.

"We have seen reports coming from Thailand; of course, the improvement of one patient does not constitute evidence," Abeyasinghe told reporters in Malacañang.

The report, however, will prompt the WHO to work "more closely" with health authorities in Thailand, he added.

Once the WHO establishes "clear evidence" of the most effective treatment of the virus, Abeyasinghe said the organization will immediately report it.

"We need to recognize that this is an evolving situation, it’s a new disease and WHO remains committed to working together with the global research community to generate that evidence and share it with member states when available," he added.

-with a report from Reuters