Can HIV drugs help people with coronavirus? Some doctors are trying them on patients

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Doctors are using HIV drugs to treat patients diagnosed with coronavirus, media outlets report.

James Cai, one of the first people to test positive for the virus in New Jersey, told the New York Post that he would’ve been “dead and gone” if Hackensack Medical Center doctors didn’t reach out to Chinese experts. He was treated with “antimalarial medicine chloroquine and the HIV drug Kaletra,” the outlet reported.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said, “this is not an approved treatment for coronavirus.”

“We have heard of some individuals with coronavirus being treated with HIV medications,” the agency said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “There is no vaccine or treatment approved to treat COVID-19.”

Chinese doctors have used Kaletra on patients in a trial since January, The Guardian reported.

HIV drug remdesivir also had “an effect” on American passengers aboard a cruise who were treated for coronavirus in Japan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Thai doctors said they had success with treating patients with a combination of flu and HIV medications, Reuters reported.

“This is not the cure, but the patient’s condition has vastly improved. From testing positive for 10 days under our care, after applying this combination of medicine the test result became negative within 48 hours,” said Dr. Kriangska Atipornwanich, a lung specialist at Rajavithi, according to Reuters.