Covid-19: Drug for riverblindness can kill coronavirus in 48hrs

By Amara Christa

An anti-parasitic head lice drug available around the world has been found to kill COVID-19 in the lab within 48 hours. Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, has been found to kill coronavirus in the laboratory within 48, say researchers at the Australia’s Monash University.


Ivermectin is used to treat parasitic infestations, from head lice and scabies to river blindness and some worm infestation. But a single dose of the drug stopped the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, from growing in cell culture, Tataafo.com reported.


“We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA (effectively removed all genetic material of the virus) by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it,” Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff said on Friday.
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.


The next step is for scientists to determine the correct human dosage, to make sure the level used in vitro is safe for humans. “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,” Dr Wagstaff said. “Realistically it’s going to be a while before a vaccine is broadly available.” Scientists expect it could be at least a month before human trials. Before Ivermectin can be used to combat coronavirus, funding is needed to get it to pre-clinical testing and clinical trials. Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug also shown to be effective in vitro against viruses including HIV, dengue and influenza. The study is the joint work of Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity. The study findings have been published in Antiviral Research. However, the drug has not been approved for treatment of coronavirus by any known authorities, especially the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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