Anti-parasitic drug kills coronavirus within 48 hours

  • Anti-parasitic drug kills coronavirus within 48 hours

Anti-parasitic drug kills coronavirus within 48 hours

Researchers from Australia have found a drug already available around the world that can kill coronavirus in a lab setting in under 48 hours.

The study, a collaboration between Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), found that Ivermectin, a drug used to treat conditions such as head lice and scabies, could effectively wipe out the SARS-CoV-2 virus' genetic material in 48 hours.

This discovery is certainly a breakthrough in the race to find a cure for the covid-19, a virus that has already killed almost 60 thousand people around the world since its emergence in December of 2019.

This anti-parasitic drug is under the class of drugs known as antihelmintic-a group of drugs that kills parasitic worms- that works by paralyzing and killing parasites.

Though the mechanism of Ivermectin on the virus is yet to be known, scientists say that it works to stop the virus "dampening down" the host cells' ability to clear it.

The World Health Organization approved the use of Ivermectin in humans to treat onchocerciasis in 1987.

However, the study was only done in vitro, meaning ivermectin is only used with cells made from laboratories. Their study was published in the journal Antiviral Research.

"I am excited about the prospect of Ivermectin being used as a potential drug against COVID-19", one of the paper's authors Dr Leon Caly said.

It is to be noted that Ivermectin is an FDA-approved drug that is also effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.

A Monash University-led study has shown a single dose of the drug Ivermectin could stop the virus growing in cell culture. With the team's report on Ivermectin's effect and safety profile, they have concluded that the drug is worthy of further consideration and funding for pre-clinical and clinical trials.

The next step for the team is "dosage optimisation". The most recent advancement may cause trial and the development of a new clinical treatment for the pandemic.

Wagstaff also pointed out that these sorts of trials and approvals usually take decades.

At the moment, there isn't an approved treatment but she shared that if there's a compound that was already available worldwide, then it might be able to help people sooner.

Available as a pill, lotion and shampoo, Invermectin has Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute researcher Kylie Wagstaff's team, feel "cautiously optimistic".

Ms Mikakos closing, expressed her concern that people might hoard the drug, leaving none for patients who needed it for proven uses - something which had happened with other medications.