Johnson & Johnson says no evidence HIV drug works against coronavirus

by Reuters
Monday, 16 March 2020 14:24 GMT

The company logo for Johnson & Johnson is displayed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company's listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Image Caption and Rights Information

The pharmaceutical company said there was no evidence Prezista had any effect against COVID-19

March 16 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson said on Monday there is no evidence its HIV drug, Prezista, had any effect against the coronavirus, in response to reports that the drug could inhibit the virus.

The company said it was aware that HIV treatments are being considered as options to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson said usage of HIV treatments were based on unpublished clinical data that were used on patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome - a virus similar to the pandemic. (https://bit.ly/2xIovfM)

In depth: Coronavirus and its impact on people, cities, and economy

Last month, China's Changjiang Daily newspaper reported that a team of researchers led by Zhejiang University professor Li Lanjuan had found that drugs abidol and darunavir - another name for Prezista - can inhibit the virus in vitro cell experiments.

In vitro experiments refers to tests done within cells.

There are no published studies that evaluate Prezista as a treatment for the coronavirus, J&J said, adding that it is screening anti-viral drugs including darunavir to determine the in vitro effect against the virus.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.