Anti-Parasitic Drug found to Kill COVID-19 in the Lab within 48 Hours
(Photo : Reuters)
A syringe is seen as inmates receive a vaccination as part of the start of the seasonal flu vaccination campaign as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Santiago, Chile

An anti-parasitic drug has found to kill COVID-19 in the laboratory within 48 hours. The drug has always been available throughout the world.

A team of Australian scientists at Monash University in Melbourne has shown a single dose of the Ivermectin drug was able to stop the SARS-CoV2 virus growing in cell culture. The Food and Drug Agency approves the drug as an anti-parasitic drug that is effective in fighting viruses such as HIV, influenza, and Zika. Their study was published in the journal Antiviral Research.

Ivermectin: the anti-parasitic drug

Dr. Kylie Wagstaff of Monash University and one of the authors of the study said that they found out that a single dose could remove all viral RNA of COVID-19 within 48 hours and that even in the first 24 hours, there was already a significant reduction in it.

While Ivermectin is known to work on the virus, the drug, however, reduces the host cells' ability to clear the infection. Scientists identified the next step is to determine the correct human dosage so as not to harm humans.

Although COVID-19 has only been known to exist for a few months, the good is that some of the team involved in studying the vaccine already had prior experience and knowledge working with it.

One of the virologists who was part of the team that first isolate and share COVID-19 outside of China in January of this year, Dr. Leon Caly, is excited about the prospect of Ivermectin as a potential drug against COVID-19. Caly is the study's author and senior virus identification specialist from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory.

Dr. Wagstaff said, "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."

Of course, finding a vaccine and cure to this pandemic would take a while to be broadly available. But first, funding for the research is needed before Ivermectin can be used to combat coronavirus.

Read: Scientists in Australia Started Testing Possible Coronavirus Vaccine

Uses of Ivermectin

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used to treat certain parasitic roundworm infections. Curing roundworm infections can reduce the risk of developing a severe or life-threatening disease on people who has a weak immune system.

This anti-parasitic drug is under the class of drugs known as antihelmintic-a group of drugs that kills parasitic worms- that works by paralyzing and killing parasites.

Also Read: Japan's Fujifilm Starts Clinical Trials of Antiviral Drug to Treat Coronavirus Amid Promising Results in China

Other drugs tested for COVID-19

Like any vaccine and cure for the COVID-19 infection, researchers have been taking similar attempts in developing this drug by repurposing several other drugs such as the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

Other drugs that are being tested around the world are the antiviral drugs that were developed to treat HIV and Ebola, which includes the lopinavir, ritonavir, and remdesivir.

But just like the other drugs, Ivermectin may show promise, but it also has its own side effects that could potentially harm rather than do good. More so, it should be verified if any of the available drugs can be used as a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.

Read more: New Blood Test for COVID-19 Antibodies Developed