Hong Kong’s public hospitals are expected to revise the treatment policy being used to treat coronavirus patients in the country to include the drug combination that has helped maintain its lowest coronavirus death rates in the world.

The updated COVID-19 treatment policy is expected to include the drug mocktail being used to treat serious coronavirus patients in the country. The updated protocol will better highlight the effectiveness of the antiviral drug thas has helped the country in beating the third wave of coronavirus infection resurgence.

Dr. Owen Tsang Tak-yin, medical director of the Hospital Authority’s infectious disease center at Princess Margaret Hospital confirmed on Thursday that the third wave of coronavirus infections is showing signs of decline. The country reported only 21 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the tally to a total of 4,755, with 81 related deaths.

“The third wave has been very rapid and fierce,” Tsang said during a media interview. “But despite that, we have one of the lowest mortality rates worldwide, at about 1.6 percent.”

The minimum coronavirus-related death rate can be attributed to the treatment protocol that has been used in the country. The public hospitals have been using a drug cocktail, which includes Ribavirin, Kaletra and antiviral drug Interferon.

While Ribavirin is traditionally used for the treatment of hepatitis C, Kaletra is a drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Tsang said that the COVID-19 treatment guidelines are expected to be updated “very soon,” and will highlight the benefits of using Interferon for the treatment of patients, in addition to Ribavirin. Kaletra, on the other hand, had been found to result in some side effects in certain categories of patients and may cause liver-related problems.

Remdesivir has also been used in Hong Kong for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. While it has been found useful in the case of severe cases requiring oxygen support, not much benefit has been reported for patients who are critically-ill with coronavirus infection.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong. Photo: Courtesy

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