In a positive development towards finding a solution to the coronavirus pandemic that shook the world and crippled the global economy and the travel and tourism industry, a team of Australian researchers say they’ve found a possible cure leading to trials for the novel coronavirus. The patients are expected to be enrolled in a nationwide trial by the end of the month.
The effective treatment or vaccination for the ‘ticking time bomb’ would help the travel industry that has been adversely impacted – to resurface.
The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research director Professor David Paterson said they have seen two drugs used to treat other conditions wipe out the virus in test tubes. He said one of the medications, given to some of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Australia, had already resulted in ‘disappearance of the virus’ and complete recovery from the infection.
Prof Paterson, who is also an infectious disease physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, said it wasn’t a stretch to label the drugs ‘a treatment or a cure’. “It’s a potentially effective treatment. Patients would end up with no viable coronavirus in their system at all after the end of therapy.”
The drugs are both already registered and available in Australia. “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,” Prof Paterson said. The positive experiences in the fight against coronavirus have already been recorded overseas, citing China and Singapore.
One of the two medications is an HIV drug, which has been superseded by ‘newer generation’ HIV drugs, and the other is an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine which is rarely used and ‘kept on the shelf now’ due to resistance to malaria. He said the researchers want to study them in a meaningful way against the coronavirus to ‘try and alleviate that anxiety of Australians’. “There have already been patients treated with these in Australia and there have been successful outcomes but it hasn’t been done in a controlled or a comparative way,” Prof Paterson said.
The research was sparked by Chinese patients, who were first given the drug in Australia, showing their doctors information on the internet about the treatment used overseas.