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Gov't recommends use of antiviral drugs for COVID-19 treatment Updated: 2020-02-14 10:02:57 KST

Infectious disease experts in South Korea have agreed to the use of antiviral drugs in the treatment of severe coronavirus cases, senior patients, and those with underlying diseases.
On the other hand, it was concluded that young patients, or those with mild symptoms, seemed to have improved after 10 days and without any antiviral treatment.

"Young and healthy people have mostly shown improvement without any special treatment. But older patients or those with underlying diseases are in need of the medication from an early stage."

Expert says this difference in treatment depending on a patient's age is actually quite normal.

"Most viral infections tend to heal even without any treatment thanks to our immune system. But old age in itself can raise risks, and many senior patients have underlying diseases, so it's recommended that they undergo antiviral treatment."

The government's guidelines recommend Kaletra, an anti-retroviral medication used to treat AIDS for a duration of 7 to 10 days.
Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine, a medication used to prevent and treat Malaria can be used as an alternative.
But experts says, while the government's announcement may sound promising, it might not make much of a difference to current treatment methods.

"There won't be a significant difference in the treatment methods. It's an antiviral drug that we are already using, and its effectiveness has not been fully proven. It's still just a recommendation."

But the expert is optimistic, saying that the recurrence rate of the novel coronavirus is low.

"It seems unlikely that a recovered patient will catch the virus again. In fact, there are very few reports of patients being re-infected when they've recovered from other coronavirus diseases such as SARS and MERS."

Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : jhee@arirang.com
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