SYDNEY – Australian researchers have been given the green light to start human trials of a promising drug treatment for the novel coronavirus after raising funds from donors in a remarkable global appeal.
Covid-19 patients will be given two drugs previously used to treat AIDS and malaria at about 50 hospitals in Australia, with tests expected to start by the end of this month. The drugs reportedly eradicated the virus in lab tests.
“There have already been patients treated with these in Australia and there’s been successful outcomes, but it hasn’t been done in a controlled or comparative way,” said David Paterson, director of the Center for Clinical Research at Queensland University, which is leading the trials.
“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,” he said.
Stanford University School of Medicine reported on Friday that a former malaria treatment known as chloroquine may have been effective in treating the disease in China and Singapore.
There is also anecdotal evidence that the redundant AIDS drug remdesivir may have worked in treating patients in China, the initial epicenter of the now global pandemic.