Coronavirus Australia: Experimental ebola drug remdesivir could treat COVID-19 patients in clinical trial
The broad-spectrum antiviral remdesivir was originally developed by US drug firm Gilead to tackle the 2009 ebola outbreak, but ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Now it’s being used in several coronavirus clinical trials across the world, with some promising results.
Earlier this month, a 79-year-old Italian man who had tested positive to COVID-19 news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-italy-man-recovers-from-covid19-using-drug-designed-for-ebola/news–story/9e075bfd127bbde7ca6bc84d5ae27bb9″ target=”_self” type=”[object Object]” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>was cleared of the disease after taking the drug. Italian politician Giovanni Toti described it as the “first real case of coronavirus cured”.
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RELATED: news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-italy-man-recovers-from-covid19-using-drug-designed-for-ebola/news–story/9e075bfd127bbde7ca6bc84d5ae27bb9″ target=”_self” type=”[object Object]” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Man recovers from COVID-19 using drug designed for ebola
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the drug as one of the four most promising therapies, alongside the two malaria medications, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir.
The six-month trial will involve 4000 healthcare workers in Australia, lead researcher Nigel Curtis told reporters on Thursday.
Half of the workers will not be given the vaccine with researchers hoping to get some sign of its effectiveness in three months.
He said healthcare workers were particularly vulnerable to infection, pointing to deaths of frontline workers overseas.
Similar trials are starting in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK but the Australian trial will be one of the largest.
Unlike the northern hemisphere, Australia will be facing coronavirus into winter’s flu season, which would provide more data for researchers. But he said it was still important for countries to be developing a coronavirus vaccine.
“This has really alerted to the world that we are always just a few weeks away from a pandemic,” Professor Curtis said.
Professor Curtis said people who had already had coronavirus or were unwell would be excluded from the trial.
“If I didn’t think (the tuberculosis vaccine) would work, I wouldn’t have been here seven days a week for the last month with a team of 20 people,” he said.
– With wires
Originally published as Ebola drug could treat virus patients