Q and A

Question

Will HIV PrEP using TD/FTC work for COVID-19?

Hi, some people are saying that PrEP will also work against coronavirus and that this might make it safer to still meet people?

Answer

Hi

Thanks – the short answer is unfortunately no – at least not based on any current evidence, and not as well as it stops HIV infection..

Expert doctors and researchers are trying everything to find an effective treatment for coronavirus and COVID-19. They are also trying to understand why some people have higher risks for infection than others.

So far, although some HIV drugs (notably lopinavir/r – Kaletra) have been used in the hope they might work, the results from studies has not been good.

Spanish researchers are looking at whether daily TDF/FTC might reduce the risk of catching coronavirus for health workers. This is because test tube studies showed some activity. But because the study might easily not work, this is not something to rely on. As with many other doctors, these hospitals also used lopinavir/r, which we now know doesn’t seem to work.

Also, some HIV positive people who are using TDF/FTC as part of their HIV treatment have still caught coronavirus. This shows that even if there is shown to be some protection, it is not 100%. Or it might find that coronavirus infection is perhaps not as severe.

COVID-19 is such a serious problem for people who get the most severe reactions that it is better to wait for real evidence. If the study is effective, the results will be known within a few months.

Info on Spanish PrEP study:
http://i-base.info/htb/37625

Review of early drugs for COVID-19 (incuding Kaletra):
http://i-base.info/htb/37419

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