Possible coronavirus drug identified by Monash University scientists

Grant Boone
April 5, 2020

Research led by a team of Australian scientists at Monash University in Melbourne recently discovered that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug could kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus when applied to an infected cell culture within 48 hours and could stop it from developing in cell cultures.

Dr Wagstaff however cautioned that the tests conducted in the study were in vitro and that human trials were yet to be carried out of the medicine.

"Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug".

In a report by the Daily Mail, ivermectin is used in both the U.S. and NHS as an anti-parasitic drug, Australian researchers believe it could be useful against COVID-19.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug used to treat infections in the body that are caused by parasites.

Ivermectin is an approved anti-parasitic drug.

While it's not known how Ivermectin works on the virus, the drug likely stops the virus dampening the host cells' ability to clear it.

A collaborative study was led by Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) in Melbourne, Australia, with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), EurekAlert reported.

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The findings of the study were published overnight in the journal, Antiviral Research.

"As the virologist who was part of the team who were first to isolate and share SARS-CoV-2 outside of China in January 2020, I am excited about the prospect of Ivermectin being used as a potential drug against COVID-19", said Dr. Leon Caly, the study's first author and a senior virus identification specialist at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory. "We need to figure out now whether the dosage you use humans will be effective - that's the next step", she said.

It has also shown to be effective in vitro against viruses including HIV, dengue and influenza.

Ivermectin's status as a drug that has already been studied and approved to treat other conditions offers a decided advantage over the development of new drugs, a long process that typically involves many years of studying safety and efficacy before being able to reach human patients.

Wagstaff, who began investigating the effectiveness of Ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 as soon as the pandemic was known, said more funding was urgently required to keep progressing the work.

The study also proposed that benchmarking testing of Ivermectin as soon as it is feasible against other potential antiviral medications for SARS-CoV-2 with different mechanisms of action is crucial.

Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, told Medican Express that the drug, Ivermectin, was capable of stopping the COVID-19 coronavirus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.

Although the drug shows promise, health officials are warning the public against self-medicating and using the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19.

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