62-year-old Miguel Ángel Benítez, Spain’s first coronavirus patient, has reportedly made a full recovery after being treated with an HIV medication.
According to the New York Post, while hospitalized Benitez received lopinavir-ritonavir, an antiretroviral drug sold by the brand name Kaletra. The drug, which has been used to treat HIV and AIDS for over a decade, was combined with interferon-beta: a protein that prevents cells from becoming infected.
Santiago Moreno, head of infectious diseases at the Ramón y Cajal hospital in Madrid, said the “SARS-CoV-2 protease is very similar to that of HIV … This enzyme is essential for the virus to replicate. The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir inhibits and blocks HIV,” he said, according to Metro. “The results that we have so far regarding its use against coronaviruses are encouraging.”
Researchers in Spain did say the treatment may not have the same results on all coronavirus patients. However, a research professor at Imperial College London said that if the easily accessible HIV drugs are successful against COVID-19 on a large scale, it’ll be quickly at hand to help treat coronavirus patients.