Researchers from Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity at Royal Melbourne Hospital recently published the results of a study revealing that Ivermectin, an approved anti-parasitic drug available worldwide, may actually treat against SARS-CoV-2 when applied to an infected cell culture. In the study, Ivermectin materially reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA material in the cell culture by 93% just after 24 hours and by 99.8% 48 hours later. This represents a 5000X reduction in COVID-19 RNA, suggesting that the drug was reducing “essentially all viral material.”

The Down Under team suggests that Ivermectin, previously known to have anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) with a single addition to vero-hSLAM cells in 2 hours post infection with SARS-CoV-2 able to impact a 5000X reduction in viral RNA at 48 hours. The team Down Under suggests Ivermectin be seriously investigated for possible use in humans.

What is Ivermectin?

The medication is used to treat many types of parasite infestations such as head lice, scabies, river blindness and many other conditions. It can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for external infestations. It was discovered in 1975 and came into medical use in 1981. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicine, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world for the tables is about US $0.12 for a course of treatment. It America, it costs less than US $50

Researcher Comments

Dr. Kylie Wagstaff from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute reported that when it came to in vitro test, “We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and even that at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it.” Of course, this data must be replicated in human clinical trials.

Funding

  • National Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship for KMW
  • NHMRC SPRF for DAJ

Monash University

Monash University based in Melbourne is named for prominent World War I general, Sir John Monash. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria, Australia. The university is home to major research facilities and over 100 research centers. The university revenue is over $2.2 billion (AUD), with external research income hovering around $282 million

About Doherty Institute

The Doherty Institute was made by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital to create a center of excellence focused infectious disease and immunity research. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Biomedical Precinct, the Doherty Institute is named in honor of Patron, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells. Under the expert guidance of Director Sharon Lewin, Professor at University of Melbourne, and a leader in research and clinical management of HIV and infectious diseases, the Doherty Institute has more than 700 staff who work on infection and immunity through a broad spectrum of activities. This includes discovery research; diagnosis, surveillance and investigation of infectious disease outbreaks; and the development of ways to prevent, treat and eliminate infectious diseases. 

Lead Research/Investigators

  • Leon Caly, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Library, Royal Melbourne Hospital, At the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Australia
  • Julian D. Druce, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Library, Royal Melbourne Hospital, At the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Australia
  • Mike G. Catton, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Library, Royal Melbourne Hospital, At the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Australia
  • David A. Jans, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University
  • Kylie M. Wagstaff, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University

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Source: Science Direct

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