A team of researchers in Australia say they’ve found a cure for coronavirus and hope to have patients enrolled in a nationwide trial by the end of the month. Scientists from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, tested drugs normally used to treat HIV and malaria to fight off the infection.
Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, and HIV-suppressing combination lopinavir/ritonavir have both reportedly shown promising results in early human tests.
Researchers went as far as to say the medications made the virus “disappear” in patients carrying.
It comes as researchers and pharmaceutical companies around the world race to kick-start the first-sates of humans testing to find a vaccine against the virus, which has officially caused a pandemic.
Professor David Paterson of the University of Queensland told news.com.au about how his team has seen the two drugs used to treat other conditions to wipe out the virus in test tubes.
He said some of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Australia had already completely recovered from the infection.
He went as far as to say it was not a stretch to label the drugs “a treatment or a cure”.
He said: “It’s a potentially effective treatment.
“Patients would end up with no viable coronavirus in their system at all after the end of therapy.”
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The drugs are both registered and readily available in Australia.
Prof Paterson said: “What we want to do at the moment is a large clinical trial across Australia, looking at 50 hospitals, and what we’re going to compare is one drug, versus another drug, versus the combination of the two drugs.”
The drugs, given their history, have a “long experience of them being very well tolerated” and there are no unexpected side effects.
He continued: “We’re not on a flat foot, we can sort of move ahead very rapidly with enrolling Australians in this trial.
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“It’s the question we all have – we know it’s coming now, what is the best way to treat it?”
Although the treatment had been effective in small, isolated cases, there hasn’t yet been any controlled testing.
This controlled testing is needed in order to ensure a new drug is fully explored for all its medical healing potential, as well as any adverse side-effects in patients who aren’t usually administered it.
There have been 300 confirmed cases of the virus in Australia, with three dead.
Globally, 170,000 people have been infected, with the death toll at more than 6,500.
China, where the virus originated, has managed to get a hold on the number of cases each day.
Italy, however, has become the epicentre of the virus, with almost 25,000 people having caught it, while nearly 2,000 have died.
In the UK, in what was the first of several daily ministerial press conference to come, Boris Johnson said everyone in the UK should avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others to curb the spread of the virus.
So far, more than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in Britain, with 55 having died.
However, because many who experience symptoms of the virus have been told to self-isolate, the number may be much higher – with thousands going untested.
This has led professor Neil Ferguson to predict the real number of those infected to be between 35,000 and 50,000.
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