Anti-parasite Drug Used Since 1980s May Inhibit Replication of Coronavirus, Says Study

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Researchers in Australia have come up with a study that shows a drug commonly used to treat parasite infections since 1980s may help stop coronavirus in a laboratory setting under 48 hours.

The study, published in the journal Antiviral Research, reveals that the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin can decrease the pace of replication of novel coronavirus. It has been carried out by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“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," said Dr Kylie Wagstaff, leader of the study, in a statement. (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/mu-pcd040320.php)

She also said that they have discovered that the even a single dose of Ivermectin could help get rid of all viral RNA within 48 hours. She added that the drug can even inhibit its replication within 24 hours.

While it is unclear as to how this anti-parasitic drug is able to eliminate the deadly virus, Wagstaff said it might be killing the virus by “dampening down” the ability of host cells to clear the drug.

The drug has been used for more than three decades in the cure of scabies, head lice and several other infections caused by parasites.

The study was conducted on cell cultures in the lab, which does not guarantee that it would be effective in case of people infected with COVID-19.

The use of the drug needs to be further studied to ascertain if it can be used in the treatment of the infection caused by coronavirus.