Should Lopinavir/Ritonavir combination be used in the treatment of COVID-19?

  • Ian Theodore G. Cabaluna
  • Michelle D. Villanueva
Keywords: Lopinavir/Ritonavir, COVID-19, SARS-cov2, anti retroviral


Background. Lopinavir/Ritonavir is an oral combination agent being used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It was demonstrated to have clinical and in vitro activity against coronaviruses. There are no specific anti viral preparation or biologic agents currently recommended to treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus

2(SARS-CoV-2) infection. There are no in-vitro studies published as well, for Lopinavir/ritonavir against SARS- CoV-2. However, recent case series and cohort studies showed earlier clinical improvement and shorter duration of viral shedding were noted especially if the combination drug is administered early in the course of the disease.

Objective. The objective of this review is to search, retrieve, appraise and summarize existing studies and clinical trials regarding the efficacy and safety of Lopinavir/Ritonavir combination in the treatment of SARS Cov-2 infection. The evidenced based recommendations may be used as a guide by clinicians and practitioners in their current practice.

Methods. Electronic databases were searched for evidences (Medline, CENTRAL, ISRCTN registry, ClinicalTrial. gov and Chinese Clinical Trial Registry) and articles were selected based on a pre-defined criteria according to population, intervention, outcome and study designs.

Results. Two randomized controlled trials were included in this review. Lopinavir/ritonavir treatment did not significantly accelerate clinical improvement, reduce mortality, or shoten the viral RNA detectability in patients with serious COVID-19.

Conclusion. There is little evidence to conclude on the effectiveness of lopinavir/ritonavir in patients with COVID-19. More high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed.