Swine flu, malaria and HIV drugs: Mumbai doctors’ Covid-19 treatment formula
Doctors say combination of the three drugs has helped cure Covid-19 patientsUpdated: Apr 16, 2020 22:09 IST
While there is no vaccine or specific treatment for Covid-19, doctors in Mumbai said they have successfully cured patients with a combination of drugs used for swine flu, malaria and HIV. However, doctors have cautioned against the use of drugs without medical supervision.
HT had reported earlier that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in March approved the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir or Fluvir), an antiviral used in treatment of swine flu; hydroxychloroquine, a medicine used to prevent and treat malaria and anti-HIV drug Lopinavir for treatment of Covid-19 patients. Doctors said the treatment protocol of a few cured patients shows the combination works.
One cured patient is a 45-year-old resident of Madanpura with a travel history from Delhi, who was admitted to Kasturba Hospital with complaints of fever, cold, dry cough and bodyache on March 21. The patient had hypertension. He was treated with hydroxychloroquine. Along with that, he was given multivitamin tablets and antibiotics like azithromycin and cetirizine. The patient responded to the medicines and tested negative for the virus in two consecutive swab test reports. He was discharged from the hospital on March 31.
Another combination was tried for a 69-year-old Andheri resident, who along with her husband, was among the first patients in Mumbai to be diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 11. The woman was admitted with her 70-year-old husband in Kasturba Hospital on March 10. She had cough, fever, mild breathlessness and loss of appetite. The couple had a travel history to Dubai. She was a patient of diabetes and hypertension. She was given tablet omez for acidity for 10 days, antibiotic levoflox (500mg), along with medicines for her preexisting conditions. For her breathing problem, she was given Duolin neb as her airways were congested because of the infection.
However, her husband who had developed fluid in his right lung due to pneumonia needed more time to recover. He was administered with the same three-drug combination his wife received, but for his pneumonia, he was given 4.45gm of Piptaz injections (antibiotics) with a diabetes diet. Eventually, he also recovered and the couple was discharged from the hospital on March 24.
“They were the first patients to be treated with a drug combination of hydroxychloroquine, Tamiflu and Lopinavir. Although there is no specific evidence about the effectiveness of the drugs, we used the drugs as an experiment which actually worked,” said a doctor from the hospital who was involved in her treatment.
Talking to HT, her husband said, “For the initial two days, she was very weak and her legs would shiver. But now, she is absolutely fine and is able to do house chores without any breathlessness.”
However, according to doctors, he still needs time to overcome the weakness.
“On the 10th day of my admission to the hospital, I kept vomiting. I thought, I won’t survive, but I did. Although sometimes I still feel dizzy if I stand for long,” he said.
The HIV medicines were earlier used for treatment of patients during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, also a fatal respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
However, doctors caution people with symptoms and Covid-19 positive patients from trying the drugs on their own.
“Every patient has different health issues and depending on it we prescribe the medicines. Some patients may need Lopinavir, others may need hydroxychloroquine. So, it will be risky and can even prove fatal if consumed over the counter without the supervision of doctors,” said Dr Daksha Shah, deputy health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).