MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health said Sunday it would stop the use of combination HIV drug lopinavir and ritonavir in its treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients following the World Health Organization’s move.

The agency had also previously discontinued using anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“Based on the recent evidence and recommendations from our experts, we will be stopping the use of lopinavir and ritonavir among hospitalized patients,” she told reporters.

Patients who have started using lopinavir and ritonavir may complete the whole course of the treatment, or opt to discontinue, Vergeire said.

The UN agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalized patients or as a prophylaxis.

The solidarity trial began in March with possible treatment approaches to COVID-19 using remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

Vergeire said that with the removal of the lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine from the trials, “we will have remdesivir plus interferon as the new regimen… and standard of care, once shipment of interferon arrives.”

The Philippines on Saturday reported its second largest spike of 1,494 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising its total to 41,830. Of this figure, the country tallied 11,453 recoveries and 1,290 deaths. (MNS)

ALSO READ: Steam inhalation may trigger COVID-19 spread – DOH exec