Efficacy and Safety of Lopinavir/Ritonavir or Arbidol in Adult Patients with Mild/Moderate COVID-19: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Trial

Med (N Y). 2020 May 19. doi: 10.1016/j.medj.2020.04.001. Online ahead of print.


Background: Antiviral therapies against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which has caused a global pandemic of respiratory illness called COVID-19, are still lacking.

Methods: Our study (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04252885, named ELACOI), was an exploratory randomized (2:2:1) controlled trial assessing the efficacy and safety of lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) or arbidol monotherapy for treating patients with mild/moderate COVID-19.

Findings: This study successfully enrolled 86 patients with mild/moderate COVID-19, with 34 randomly assigned to receive LPV/r, 35 to arbidol, and 17 with no antiviral medication as control. Baseline characteristics of the three groups were comparable. The primary endpoint, the rate of positive-to-negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, was similar between groups (all p > 0.05). There were no differences between groups in the secondary endpoints, the rates of antipyresis, cough alleviation, or improvement of chest computed tomography (CT) at days 7 or 14 (all p > 0.05). At day 7, 8 (23.5%) patients in the LPV/r group, 3 (8.6%) in the arbidol group, and 2 (11.8%) in the control group showed a deterioration in clinical status from moderate to severe/critical (p = 0.206). Overall, 12 (35.3%) patients in the LPV/r group and 5 (14.3%) in the arbidol group experienced adverse events during the follow-up period. No apparent adverse event occurred in the control group.

Conclusions: LPV/r or arbidol monotherapy present little benefit for improving the clinical outcome of patients hospitalized with mild/moderate COVID-19 over supportive care.

Funding: This study was supported by project 2018ZX10302103-002, 2017ZX10202102-003-004, and Infectious Disease Specialty of Guangzhou High-level Clinical Key Specialty (2019-2021).

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; arbidol; efficacy; lopinavir/ritonavir.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04252885