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BackgroundNo therapeutics have yet been proven effective for the treatment of severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.MethodsWe conducted a randomized, controlled, open-label trial involving hospitalized adult patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes the respiratory illness Covid-19, and an oxygen saturation (Sao2) of 94% or less while they were breathing ambient air or a ratio of the partial pressure of oxygen (Pao2) to the fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio2) of less than 300 mm Hg. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either lopinavir-ritonavir (400 mg and 100 mg, respectively) twice a day for 14 days, in addition to standard care, or standard care alone. The primary end point was the time to clinical improvement, defined as the time from randomization to either an improvement of two points on a seven-category ordinal scale or discharge from the hospital, whichever came first.ResultsA total of 199 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection underwent randomization; 99 were assigned to the lopinavir-ritonavir group, and 100 to the standard-care group. Treatment with lopinavir-ritonavir was not associated with a difference from standard care in the time to clinical improvement (hazard ratio for clinical improvement, 1.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95 to 1.80). Mortality at 28 days was similar in the lopinavir-ritonavir group and the standard-care group (19.2% vs. 25.0%; difference, -5.8 percentage points; 95% CI, -17.3 to 5.7). The percentages of patients with detectable viral RNA at various time points were similar. In a modified intention-to-treat analysis, lopinavir-ritonavir led to a median time to clinical improvement that was shorter by 1 day than that observed with standard care (hazard ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.91). Gastrointestinal adverse events were more common in the lopinavir-ritonavir group, but serious adverse events were more common in the standard-care group. Lopinavir-ritonavir treatment was stopped early in 13 patients (13.8%) because of adverse events.ConclusionsIn hospitalized adult patients with severe Covid-19, no benefit was observed with lopinavir-ritonavir treatment beyond standard care. Future trials in patients with severe illness may help to confirm or exclude the possibility of a treatment benefit. (Funded by Major Projects of National Science and Technology on New Drug Creation and Development and others; Chinese Clinical Trial Register number, ChiCTR2000029308.).

Original publication





The New England journal of medicine

Publication Date





1787 - 1799


From the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Center of Respiratory Medicine, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases (B.C., Yeming Wang, G.F., F.Z., X.G., Z.L., Y.Z., Hui Li, L.S., C.W.), and the Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences (G.F., X.G.), China-Japan Friendship Hospital, the Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (B.C., Yeming Wang, F.Z., Z.L., Y.Z., Hui Li, C.W.), the Clinical and Research Center of Infectious Diseases, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University (Xingwang Li), Peking University Clinical Research Institute, Peking University First Hospital (C.D.), Tsinghua University School of Medicine (Jiuyang Xu), Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (L.S.), NHC Key Laboratory of Systems Biology of Pathogens and Christophe Merieux Laboratory, Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (L.G.), and Peking Union Medical College (L.G., C.W.), Beijing, and Jin Yin-tan Hospital, Wuhan (D.W., W.L., Jingli Wang, L.R., B.S., Y.C., M.W., Jiaan Xia, N.C., Jie Xiang, T.Y., T.B., X.X., L.Z., C.L., Y.Y., H.C., Huadong Li, H.H., S.T., F.G., Y.L., Yuan Wei, K.W., K.L., X.Z., X.D., Z.Q., Sixia Lu, X.H., S.R., Shanshan Luo, Jing Wu, Lu Peng, F.C., Lihong Pan, J.Z., C.J., Juan Wang, Xia Liu, S.W., X.W., Q.G., J.H., H.Z., F.Q., C.H., D.Z.) - all in China; Lancaster University, Lancaster (T.J.), and the University of Oxford, Oxford (P.W.H.) - both in the United Kingdom; and the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville (F.G.H.).


Humans, Pneumonia, Viral, Coronavirus Infections, Ritonavir, Antiviral Agents, Treatment Failure, Drug Therapy, Combination, Clinical Laboratory Techniques, Viral Load, Hospital Mortality, Proportional Hazards Models, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Intention to Treat Analysis, Pandemics, Lopinavir, Time-to-Treatment, Patient Acuity, Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A Inhibitors, Betacoronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Testing