A two-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus, researchers reported Thursday.
Three small studies involving 176 patients show the combination of the two drugs, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir, may have hastened the recovery of patients hospitalized with coronavirus, Andrew Hill of Liverpool University told the International AIDS Society’s Covid-19 Conference.
After two weeks of treatment, 94% of the patients given the two-drug combination were significantly better on a seven-point scale, compared to 70% of those not given the drugs, Hill said at a news conference.
The studies were conducted in Iran, where the drug combination is widely used to treat hepatitis C patients. Hill said the studies were not the carefully controlled trials that doctors prefer to see before they adopt a new treatment.
“These results need to be seen as preliminary unless confirmed with larger randomized, controlled trials,” Hill said.
Hill added that the drugs have been widely used.
“Millions of people have been cured of hepatitis C using this treatment,” he said.
Studies involving 2,000 people are under way and Hill said results should be available by October.
Some context: Currently, remdesivir is the only antiviral drug that has emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections.
Teams of doctors are testing a variety of antiviral drugs developed to treat hepatitis, HIV and other viral infections.