Ivermectin shows activity against COVID-19 in cell cultures
A study has demonstrated that the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin may be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
Researchers have discovered ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug found world-wide, can kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, within 48 hours.
A collaborative study by Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), both Australia, demonstrated that ivermectin can stop SARS-CoV-2 growth in cell cultures by eradicating all genetic information within two days. Their findings were published in Antiviral Research.
“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 really significant reduction in it,” said BDI’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study.
Ivermectin is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved anti-parasitic drug that has previously shown activity in vitro against a broad range of viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Dengue fever, influenza and Zika virus. Dr Wagstaff stated: “Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective – that’s the next step.”
According to Dr Wagstaff, the mechanism of action by which ivermectin targets SARS-CoV-2 is unknown; however, it is thought to be similar to how it works on other viruses – preventing the virus dampening down the host cells’ ability to clear it.
Dr Wagstaff worked with Professor David Jans, also an author on the paper, to conduct the research. Professor Jans and his team have been researching ivermectin’s antiviral properties for more than 10 years with different viruses. The pair said they began their work on SARS-CoV-2 as soon as the pandemic was reported to have started.
Dr Wagstaff concluded by cautioning that the use of ivermectin to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on further pre-clinical and clinical testing which will require funding.