Australian scientists find possible coronavirus treatment in FDA-approved drug

April 10, 2020

A present-day anti-parasitic drug has been shown to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic currently, in just two days. As observed by scientists at Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in Melbourne, Australia, the drug, Ivermectin, stopped the coronavirus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.

BDI’s Dr. Kylie Wagstaff said a single dose of the safe and widely-used Ivermectin resulted in a “significant reduction” of viral RNA in 24 hours and “essentially removed all viral RNA by 48 hours.”

Ivermectin has previously been shown to be effective in-vitro (in an artificial environment) against a broad range of viruses including the HIV, Influenza and Zika viruses. With SARS-CoV-2, the drug likely works “to stop the virus ‘dampening down’ the host cells’ ability to clear it.”

Dr. Leon Caly, a Senior Medical Scientist at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory at the Doherty Institute where the experiments with live coronavirus were conducted, commented, “As a part of the team who were first to isolate and share SARS-COV2 outside of China in January 2020, I am excited about the prospect of Ivermectin being used as a potential drug against COVID-19.”

However, the use of Ivermectin to combat COVID-19 would depend on the results of further pre-clinical testing and ultimately clinical trials. Dr. Wagstaff insists human trials and further funding are crucial to progressing this work.

“In times when we’re having a global pandemic and there isn’t an approved treatment, if we had a compound that was already available, it might help people sooner,” Dr. Wagstaff said.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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