A person from the Australian cruise ship “Greg Mortimer,” who according to the military suffers COVID-19, is taken by military personnel to a local hospital after removing the patient from the cruise ship in Montevideo, Uruguay. (AP)
As scientists and doctors continue to find a way to cure coronavirus, a group of Australian researchers are discussing head lice drug Ivermectin as a possible treatment to kill the infection in less than 48 hours.
A set of findings by Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), both in Australia, suggest that the drug can quickly prevent the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The report titled “The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro” has been published online in the journal Antiviral Research.
“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,” said BDI’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, said.
However, the research is in the initial stages and the drug is yet to be tested on Covid-19 patients.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is a medicine used to kill parasites. Used since 1980s, the drug is mainly used in creams and lotions for head lice. Besides this, it is also used in a tablet form to cure roundworm infection and second-line treatment for scabies and rosacea, a skin condition that results in redness and causes pus-filled bumps on the face.
A recently painted mural with a blue heart for the National Health Service staff working during the coronavirus outbreak by Australian street artist James Cochran, also known as Jimmy C, is displayed in east London. (AP)
The drug needs to be consumed with a glass of water on an empty stomach at least an hour before a meal. It is usually taken as a single dose or series of doses, as per the directions of the doctor.
The dosage depends on weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.
Is Ivermectin harmful?
According to Healthline, drug may cause tiredness, loss of energy, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness and itchiness. In case of a skin or an eye infection, the medicine may lead to joint pain and swelling, swollen and tender lymph nodes, itching, rashes, fever and eye problems.
Some of the serious side effects include low blood pressure, inability to breathe and can also lead to liver damage.
A medical worker from China's Jilin Province, in red, embraces a colleague from Wuhan as she prepares to return home at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. (AP)
How can Ivermectin cure Covid-19?
According to scientists at Monash University and the Doherty Institute, the drug can prevent the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus. In the laboratory, the replication of the virus came to a halt within 24-48 hours after it was exposed to the drug.
While there is no clarity on how the drug functions, it appears to end the processes that allow proteins to move within the virus. According to a report by Newsweek, these proteins would otherwise dampen the body's antiviral response, and allow the virus to replicate.
Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center health care professionals stand and wave from the sidewalk as the Caravan of Care parades around the hospital in Athens. The caravan was organized to show support for the community's health care professionals who are battling the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)
Should you buy Ivermection?
Researchers have clearly clarified that Ivermection should not be used on coronavirus patients until further testing is done.
"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," study co-author Kylie Wagstaff from Monash University in Australia said.
The scientists further cautioned that the use of Ivermectin to combat coronavirus would depend on the results of future pre-clinical testing and ultimately clinical trials.