A group of researchers in Australia has reportedly found what they described as a potential cure for the coronavirus — and it’s two existing drugs used to treat HIV and Malaria.
The team of experts at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (QCCR) in Brisbane said the drugs, which are often used for other diseases, were found to have killed the virus in test tubes.
They said Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, and lopinavir/ritonavir, the HIV-suppressing combination, showed promising results in human tests after they made the virus “disappear.”
Speaking on the development, David Paterson, an infectious disease expert in Queensland, told an Australian news outlet that his team hopes to enroll more people in larger-scale trials within weeks.
“It’s a potentially effective treatment. Patients would end up with no viable coronavirus in their system at all after the end of therapy,” he said.
“What we want to do now 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.
“We’re not on a flat foot, we can sort of move ahead very rapidly with enrolling Australians in this trial. It’s the question we all have – we know it’s coming now, what is the best way to treat it?
“Our doctors were very, very surprised that a HIV drug could actually work against the novel coronavirus and there was a bit of scepticism. That first wave of Chinese patients we had did well.”
Since its outbreak in China in December, the virus has killed about 5,000 persons, with at least 138,000 infected across more than 100 countries.
Clinical evidence had earlier suggested that Chloroquine Phosphate can be effective in combating coronavirus as efforts towards developing a vaccine have continued to gain grounds.