The 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) was held virtually for the very first time and featured discussion about the current direction and future prospects for HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. It was followed by a virtual COVID-19 conference on July 10 and 11. This conference was the first abstract-driven scientific conference dedicated to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It featured 140 late-breaking studies addressing urgent questions related to COVID-19 epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and care.
During the summit, researchers gave a presentation entitled, “Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir as a Potential Candidate for Moderate or Severe COVID-19 Treatment, Results from a Randomised Control Trial.” During the official press briefing, Andrew Hill, Ph.D., the principal investigator, reviewed promising results from the study.
Hill graduated from Oxford University and then gained his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. He’s been working on clinical trials of drugs to treat HIV and hepatitis C for the past 28 years. He’s a senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University and also works as a consultant for the World Health Organization and Unitaid. Hill spoke with Terri Wilder, M.S.W., after the COVID-19 conference.
Terri Wilder: Dr. Hill, can you start by giving me an overview of the trial, the preliminary results, and how you were involved?
Andrew Hill: There were three studies conducted in Iran at the peak of their first epidemic there in March and April 2020. I was involved with them because they had used the same drug to cure thousands of people with hepatitis C in Iran. I actually contacted them at the beginning of the epidemic and suggested they try using the hepatitis C drugs to actually treat COVID-19, as well, because there were some early studies suggesting that these drugs might be active, not just against hep C, but against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well.
TW: The drugs that were used, as you mentioned, were hepatitis C drugs. Can you talk a little bit about the dosage of the drugs that were given to the patients? And then also, what was the control treatment that was given?
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