Over the last few months, the COVID-19 coronavirus has rapidly spread around the world, infecting more than 140,000 people to date.
Now, scientists from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research claim that a cure for the disease is possible, thanks to two existing drugs.
The drugs, called Chloroquine and Lopinavir, are currently used to treat malaria and HIV respectively, but could be used to treat patients with coronavirus.
According to Professor David Paterson , who is leading the research, the drugs have already been shown to wipe out the virus in test tubes.
Speaking to news.com.au , he explained: “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 researchers now hope to carry out a clinical study across Australia to test the effects of the drugs on patients.
He added: “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.”
The clinical trial could start enrolling patients by the end of this month, according to Professor Paterson.
He said: “If we can test it in this first wave of patients, we do fully expect that there are going to be ongoing infections for months and months ahead, and therefore we’ll have the best possible information to treat subsequent patients.”
Chinese patients infected with coronavirus have already been given the HIV drug, with promising initial results.
Professor Paterson added: “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 (in Australia), they all did very, very well when they were treated with the HIV drug.
“That’s reassuring … that we’re onto something really good here.”
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