What is lopinavir and ritonavir, and how does it work?
Kaletra is an oral drug that is a combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir. It is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It can be used in a class of drugs called protease inhibitors, including lopinavir and ritonavir (adrenaline, Tova’s). Although lopinavir and ritonavir can suppress HIV, they bind to Kaletra because lopinavir increases the concentration of lopinavir in the body. In fact, Kaletra HIV activity is due to Lopinavir, because Kaletra lopinavir is not enough to suppress HIV.
During HIV infection, HIV increases in the body’s cells. The virus is released from cells and spreads throughout the body, infecting other cells. In this way, HIV infection lives forever in new cells that the body continues to produce. In the production of viruses, new proteins are produced for the virus. Some proteins are structural proteins, which form viral bodies. Other proteins are enzymes that form DNA and other new viral components. Protease is an enzyme that forms new proteins and structural enzymes. Kaletra lopinavir blocks the action of protease and causes the formation of defective viruses that cannot infect human cells. As a result, the number of viruses (virus exposure) in the body decreases. However, Kaletra cannot prevent the spread of HIV in individuals, nor can it cure HIV infection or AIDS.
Can Lopinavir and Ritonavir treat the coronavirus COVIDE-19?
- The Combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir is being investigated for the Treatment of Coronavirus disease COVID-19, a deadly respiratory pandemic caused by the SARS nCoV-2 virus.
- Most viruses have the ability to produce proteins needed for their life cycle. The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir theoretically stops this process. In order for viruses to generate their DNA or RNA (RNA in the case of SARS-nCov-2), the virus must take over part of the host cell.
- The virus is based on an enzyme called protease. Imagine the process of replicating the virus then feeding the dough into a paste manufacturer. The protease acts like scissors at the end, cutting the lengths of the paste as they come out of the machine to multiply the amino acids needed for the virus.
Are Lopinavir and Ritonavir safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
- The use of Kaletra during pregnancy has not been adequately evaluated.
- It is not known if Kaletra is excreted from breast milk. However, HIV-infected mothers should not breastfeed due to the potential risk of HIV transmission to an uninfected child.
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