Source : SCMP
Despite legal risks, Andy Li from Zhengzhou, Henan province, distributes the HIV drug Kaletra, also known as Aluvia, to coronavirus patients for free. Phot: Andy LiWhen Andy Li heard that Chinese health authorities had listed an HIV/Aids drug combination as a treatment for coronavirus patients, he knew he had to act.
Li, who works for his family’s building materials company in Zhengzhou in central Henan province, is HIV-positive and the founder of a non-profit online drug distribution platform that enables fellow HIV carriers to share their leftover drugs with others when they run short.
Among the medications offered on the platform is a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir sold under the brand names Kaletra and Aluvia.
Kaletra is prescribed free to China’s 958,000 HIV carriers, with health authorities typically giving patients 360 pills each for three months.
But Li said that some people did not take the medication because of side effects such as diarrhoea, and those who could afford it paid for other medicines out of their own pocket. Li’s platform allows these people to give their unused drugs to others for free.
On January 27, China’s National Health Commission released a clinical guideline saying that Kaletra was recommended as a treatment for mild cases of Covid-19 – the disease caused by the new coronavirus that has infected nearly 80,000 people and killed more than 2,500.
The next day, Li wrote on the Twitter-like service Weibo that he could send Kaletra pills to coronavirus patients for free.
He said he felt a common bond with those who came down with the disease and felt a responsibility to help them.