STA, 5 August 2020 - Covid-19 patients in Slovenia are primarily treated with support measures that target symptoms, meaning they receive oxygen and fever-reducing drugs if necessary. Those with severe symptoms are given remdesivir, favipiravir and dexamethasone, drugs that research shows can be potentially effective.
Remdesivir, an antiviral agent, is administered to those who need intensive care or have a rapidly increasing need for oxygen supply, Mateja Logar, an infectiologist at the UKC Ljubljana hospital, has explained for the STA.
Those with slightly milder symptoms and in the starting stage of the disease but with coexisting conditions are administered favipiravir, a drug so far used to treat the flu.
With those who need oxygen but have been receiving it for a period where favipiravir is no longer a viable option, the drug of choice is dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that has been used for decades, mostly to treat various kinds of inflammations.
"These are drugs that multiple studies have shown to be potentially effective while also having a relatively favourable safety profile," Logar added.
Slovenian doctors do not use hydroxychloroquine, an arthritis medicine that also can be used to prevent malaria, nor do they use the antibiotic azithromycin or drugs for HIV, as these have been proven ineffective in multiple studies.
The Slovenian Blood Transfusion centre is also collecting the plasma of those who got through a Sars-CoV-2 infection in the spring months and is storing it in case the need arises to use it for treatment. Plasma treatment has so far not been used at UKC Ljubljana for Covid-19.
There has been no treatment with stem cells either, given that this an experimental type of treatment that involves a number of technical difficulties.
UKC Ljubljana has so far not participated in clinical trials, since the studies also involved certain drugs that were not deemed appropriate. The hospital did share data on treatment with the producer of remdesivir.