Anti-parasitic drug eliminates SARS-CoV2 within 48 hours


This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

A collaborative study led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, has shown that an anti-parasitic drug already available around the world kills the virus within 48 hours.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute's Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, said the scientists showed that the drug, Ivermectin, stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.

"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 significant reduction in it," Dr Wagstaff said. Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.

According to Prof Sunil K. Lal, Professor of Microbiology in School of Science at Monash University Malaysia, this approach has a myriad of advantages. "The biggest advantage, especially in the case of COVID-19, is the ease of upscaling and speed for urgent administration into the field which can be expedited since safety and risk assessment studies on patients have already been conducted as part of the clearance process for the original application of the drug. Additionally, overall developmental expenses will be lower, and clearances from the regulatory authorities can be easily facilitated."

He added that the most considerable advantage of drug repositioning is that it gives new life to novel viral disease like COVID-19. "Repositioning existing drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, nucleotide inhibitors, ledipasvir and now, most recently Ivermectin for COVID-19, show great promise as new repositioned drugs."

This Monash University-led collaborative study was published in Antiviral Research, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by Elsevier. Read the full manuscript here.