- The researchers discovered that an antiparasitic drug can kill the new coronavirus in 48 hours in laboratory tests.
- Ivermectin has not been tested in patients with COVID-19, and human trials are mandatory to determine if the drug is efficient and safe in fighting SARS-CoV-2 after infection.
- The drug joins the growing list of other drugs currently being tested around the world as scientists seek to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.
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We are at the peak of the coronavirus health crisis in some countries, while others will see the worst in the coming weeks. That's pretty much all we hear from the news, and all we can do right now is wait for the blockade measures to work. Social distancing should flatten the curve and give hospitals and governments much-needed respite. But the fight against COVID-19 will hardly be over once the number of daily infections drops significantly. This is the type of disease that we will have to eradicate. Otherwise, it could become a seasonal disease like the flu, but much more contagious and deadly.
Achieving immunity can be done in two ways, and neither is easy. A vaccine will not be ready for at least another 12 to 18 months, and the researchers hope everything will work. The virus, as it is now, mutates very little. But you will have to wait and hope that you don't get infected until then. The other way is to fight COVID-19 infection and hope that yours is a mild case. While there are no specific cures to help boost the immune system in its battle against the pathogen, there are several promising treatments that are being tested in many hospitals that treat patients with COVID-19. And Australian researchers have just discovered a potential new drug that can kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The drug is so good that it removes any trace of the virus in as little as two days, but that's only in laboratory tests.
Called ivermectin, hopefully the drug is something you will never have to deal with unless it can speed up the recovery of COVID-19. That's because the drug was developed in the mid-1970s to fight parasites. Think of lice, scabies, and other diseases caused by roundworms and roundworms. The drug also works on onchocerciasis, or river blindness, where those affected experience severe itching, bumps under the skin, and blindness. Taken once every six to 12 months, ivermectin can also kill larvae and adult worms. It has also been used in treatments for HIV, dengue and Zika, How reports. That's probably why research has also tried it against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
A team of scientists from Monash University's Biomedical Discovery Institute (BDI) and Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity have concluded that the drug could form the basis of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"We found that even a single dose could remove essentially all of the viral RNA within 48 hours and that even within 24 hours, there was a really significant reduction," said Dr. Kylie Wagstaff of BDI about the drug. The doctor warned that only tests were performed in vitro for now, and human trials would be needed to prove the findings.
“Ivermectin is widely used and is considered a safe drug. We need to determine now if the dose at which they can use it in humans will be effective, that's the next step, "he said.
In other words, ivermectin is also not a miracle cure. It is not a "game changer,quot; that someone should feel good about until science can back up this initial enthusiasm. Just because a drug is approved for human use for a specific disease doesn't mean it should be applied to any other medical condition without proper testing, no matter how slow the testing process.
It is unclear when or even if ivermectin trials will start in patients with COVID-19.