Two hepatitis C (HCV) antiviral drugs were found to raise survival rates for people with moderate or severe COVID-19 according to a series of Iranian studies reported at the online International AIDS Conference last week.
Study co-author Andrew Hill, MD, of Liverpool University said the antiviral drugs sofosbuvir and daclatasvir could offer an affordable and widely accessible treatment option, according to early study findings.
As the global COVID-19 case numbers steadily climb, researchers are testing a plethora of medications used to treat existing conditions as potential treatments for the new coronavirus, now recently coined as SARS-CoV-2.
According to a press release, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir have shown to successfully fight against COVID-19 infection strains. For example, daclatasvir appears to penetrate well into the lungs, which is a major indicator of COVID-19 prevention since it attacks the cardiovascular system.
Findings from the study also pointed to findings from a randomized controlled trial comparing sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir for two weeks versus standard-of-care treatment for adult patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 at four university hospitals in Iran. The study consisted of 66 participants with a fever and restricted breathing who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The patients also reported having diabetes, hypertension, chronic pulmonary disease and obesity, not hepatitis-c.
Researchers reported that 88% of people who took both sofosbuvir and daclatasvir recovered within two weeks. Additionally, 9% versus 21% required mechanical ventilation and three (9%) versus five (15%) patients died.
The study also outlined that sofosbuvir combined with daclatasvir was associated with faster recovery and improved survival. Continued studies will be conducted to crystallize results.
It has been suggested that studies will be expanded to US participants in coming trials.
The study also emphasized that the potential for this treatment to be affordable and globally accessible.
“This treatment is being developed with no support from large pharmaceutical companies, and all our funding is from governments, academia and donor agencies,” Hill said during the convention. “There is already enough generic sofosbuvir and daclatasvir mass produced to treat millions of people if this drug proves effective. We want this treatment to be affordable for anyone with COVID-19 in any country.”