Scientists in an Australian university have shown that the parasitic drug Ivermectin can stop the coronavirus growing in a lab culture.
University of Monash scientists have shown that a single dose of the anti-parasitic drug can stop the virus growing in a cell culture within 48 hours.
The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, said: “We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it.”
However Dr Wagstaff cautioned that the tests conducted in the study were in vitro (outside of a living organism) and that trials needed to be carried out in people.
“Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective – that’s the next step,” Dr Wagstaff said.
We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective
“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 around the world then that might help people sooner. Realistically it’s going to be a while before a vaccine is broadly available.
Although the mechanism by which Ivermectin works on the virus is not known, it is likely, based on its action in other viruses, that it works to stop the virus ‘dampening down’ the host cells’ ability to clear it, Dr Wagstaff said.
Ivermectin has previously been shown effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.