A HIV drug has been used to successfully cure a coronavirus patient in Spain.

Sevilla’s Virgen del Rocio Hospital has begun using an experimental therapy to successfully treat a patient suffering from the Covid-19 virus, according to El Pais.

The drug has been used to prevent HIV for more than a decade and combines the antiviral drugs lopinavir and ritonavir together with interferon beta, a protein that prevents cells from becoming infected.

These types of therapies are used when there are no other alternatives available for diseases that can be very serious or even fatal.

A treatment that has already been used by several hospitals in Wuhan, although experts consider that ‘the evidence on its effectiveness is scarce.’

Albert Bosch, president of the Spanish Virology Society, has indicated that one of the greatest advantages of this treatment is that it is an ‘approved drug used in other medical procedures, so there are no doubts about its safety.’

Additionally it is an ‘experimental treatment that has given good results against other viruses.’

Interferon beta, the other drug used in Sevilla, has a different mechanism of action.

It is one of the so-called signalling proteins that naturally occurs in human cells when they are infected by a virus.

“The aim is to alert other cells, which then develop a greater resistance to the infection,” said Bosch.

Santiago Moreno, head of infectious diseases at the Hospital Ramon y Cajal explained that ‘the SARS-CoV-2 protease is very similar to that of HIV.’

He added: “This enzyme is essential for the virus to replicate.

“The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir inhibits it and blocks HIV.

“Thus the results so far from its use against the coronavirus are encouraging.”

There is however no guarantee that success in this patient, Miguel Angel Benitez, 62, will lead to the same result in others, but it does provide new evidence and an advance in treatments to cure the disease.

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