COVID-19: These drugs don't work

COVID-19: These drugs don't work

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Trump's corona miracle cure doesn't work

US President Donald Trump and Brazil's President Bolsonaro swear by the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine in the fight against COVID-19. But researchers are now reporting that the malaria drug does not work against the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The same also applies to another active ingredient that was considered a beacon of hope for the disease.

For many experts, the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was one of the most promising drug candidates in the search for COVID-19 therapy. But months ago, researchers reported that this remedy does more harm than good and even poses deadly side effects. And according to a research team from Switzerland, it does not work at all against the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Concentration of the medication is not enough

As the University of Basel said in a recent announcement, lopinavir is a drug for HIV and hydroxychloroquine is used in malaria and rheumatism. Until recently, both drugs were seen as potential hope in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

But a research group from the University and University Hospital Basel has now found that the concentration of the two drugs in the lungs of COVID-19 sufferers is not sufficient to combat the virus.

Virus propagation is probably not inhibited

Studies at the University and University Hospital Basel have been running since February 2020 with patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19. The research group Infectiology investigated how the inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2 affects the concentration of drugs in the blood.

"Previous research has shown that inflammation of the drug can be inhibited," explains Prof. Dr. Catia Marzolini, professor of experimental medicine and first author of the Basel study. "We therefore wanted to investigate the effect of inflammation on the concentration of lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine in the blood." According to the experts, very high drug concentrations can occur in the body if there is a strong inhibition.

The study, recently published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, found that the concentration of the HIV drug lopinavir is actually related to the intensity of the inflammation.

The scientists used the drug concentration values ​​in the blood to calculate how high the concentration of lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine in the lungs must have been - i.e. at the site of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results suggest that both drugs are unlikely to reach sufficient concentrations to inhibit viral proliferation in the lungs.

Study should not be continued

The World Health Organization (WHO) decided on July 4, 2020 that a study with hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir / ritonavir for COVID-19 should not continue. "The results of our own study provide important scientific findings that are in line with this decision and explain why these drugs do not work," said Prof. Manuel Battegay, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Basel and Head of the Infectious Diseases & Hospital Hygiene Clinic on University Hospital Basel. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of Basel: Basel study: Why lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine do not work with Covid-19 (accessed: July 12, 2020), University of Basel
  • Catia Marzolini, Felix Stader, Marcel Stoeckle, Fabian Franzeck, Adrian Egli, Stefano Bassetti, Alexa Hollinger, Michael Osthoff, Maja Weisser, Caroline E. Gebhard, Veronika Baettig, Julia Geenen, Nina Khanna, Sarah Tschudin-Sutter, Daniel Mueller, Hans H. Hirsch, Manuel Battegay, Parham Sendi: Effect of Systemic Inflammatory Response to SARS-CoV-2 on Lopinavir and Hydroxychloroquine Plasma Concentrations; in: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, (published: July 8th, 2020), Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Video: The Drugs Dont Work Live (February 2023).