New study reveals existing widely available anti-parasitic drug can kill coronavirus within 48 hours

A STUDY led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), together with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity, has shown that an anti-parasitic drug that’s already widely available around the world can kill the coronavirus within 48 hours.

According to BDI’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, the drug Ivermectin stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture within 48 hours. “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,” Dr Wagstaff said.

Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus. Dr Wagstaff, however, cautioned that the tests conducted in the study to date were in vitro and that trials still 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 explained. “The use of Ivermectin to combat Covid-19 would depend on the results of further pre-clinical testing and ultimately clinical trials, with funding urgently required to keep progressing the work.”

The full findings of the study were published today in Antiviral Research.

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Pepi Sappal

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