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Anti-HIV medication effective in treating coronavirus patient: Korean doctors

All News 17:02 February 12, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean patient infected with the novel coronavirus recovered after receiving anti-HIV medication, the patient's doctors claimed on Wednesday.

The country's third virus-infected patient was released from a hospital, after fully recovering from the virus, in addition to four previous discharges cases, out of a total of 28 confirmed cases here.

"It looks like the anti-retroviral medication Kaletra that is used for AIDS treatment seemed to have some effect on the novel coronavirus," Lee Wang-jun, chairman of Myongji Hospital's board of directors, told reporters. "The viral level dramatically decreased the day after the administration of Kaletra and his pneumonia symptoms improved."

Kaletra is the HIV medication sold by global pharmaceutical firm AbbVie Inc. There have been reports across the globe of several patients being fully recovered with drug mixtures that include Kaletra despite some controversies over usefulness in treating the virus.

Yim Jae-kyun, another doctor of the patient, also said the findings show that Kaletra should be administered to COVID-19 patients with underlying diseases or those at risk of pneumonia at an early stage of treatment.

The third patient, a 54-year-old South Korean national, arrived here from the Chinese southern city of Wuhan on Jan. 20. He started showing symptoms on Jan. 22 before being diagnosed with the virus on Jan. 26.

On Feb. 5, doctors in charge of the country's second discharged virus-infected patient also said that the patient was administered Kaletra.

Doctors at the time said they were not sure whether the medication had played a crucial role in the treatment but several symptoms, such as cough, improved.


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