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Vietnam to trial HIV drugs in nCoV treatment

By Bich Ngoc   February 11, 2020 | 06:24 am PT
Vietnam to trial HIV drugs in nCoV treatment
A woman receives check-up at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, February 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnam has decided to trial the use of antiretroviral drugs to treat people infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Chu Ngoc Anh, the Minister of Science and Technology, said Monday that the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, in collaboration with the HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases, the HCMC Pasteur Institute, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and other entities, would try to treat 10 infected people with a fixed dose combination of antiretroviral drugs called Lopinavir/Ritonavir, for four weeks.

This medication, used in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, has already been used by Thailand in combination with a flu medication named Oseltamivir to treat its nCoV patients.

Doctors and other experts would then report on the treatment’s effectiveness and safety, among other criteria, and propose a treatment plan involving the antiretroviral drugs within 12 months, Anh said.

Vietnam is also working on creating test kits utilizing molecular biology techniques to test for the virus, creating a fast-detecting system to filter out different nCoV strains, and studying the virus’s characteristics.

The country has already developed a test kit for the nCoV which could provide results in just 70 minutes as opposed to the previous four hours. It has also successfully cultured and isolated the nCoV in the lab, allowing quicker test results and paving the way for development of a new vaccine, it announced last week.

As of Tuesday, Vietnam had confirmed 15 infected cases, the latest being a three-month-old girl in the northern Vinh Phuc Province, a grandchild of one of the previously infected patients. Six infected patients have been discharged from hospitals so far.

The global death toll has reached 1,018, with 1,016 dying in mainland China, and one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

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