Ribavirin was beneficial for patients with SARS and MERS: uncertain if it is effective for patients with COVID-19

Added March 20, 2020

Citation: Luo T, Na Y, Tan L, et al. The Possibility of Ribavirin in the Treatment of the Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Systematic Review. China Pharmaceuticals 2020; 29(5): 34-9

Language: Chinese

What is this? Like COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are acute respiratory diseases caused by a coronavirus. Ribavirin was used to treat patients with these earlier coronaviruses and might be considered as a treatment for COVID-19.

In this systematic review, the authors searched Chinese and English literature databases for research of any design testing ribavirin as a treatment of SARS or MERS. They did their search in February 2020. They identified 8 retrospective cohort studies, 8 case reports and 2 systematic reviews. Nine of these were for SARS 9 were for MERS.

What works: Nothing noted.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Although ribavirin was beneficial for SARS and MERS, it is uncertain if it will be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19.


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