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A team of researchers have claimed two types of drugs already available in Australia could hold the key to eradicating the coronavirus, as confirmed cases continue to climb daily across the nation.
One pill is an old HIV drug, and the other is chloroquine, which has been used to treat malaria.
Both showed promising outcomes when used in COVID-19 patients, according to Professor David Paterson, director of University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research.
“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 a comparative way,” Prof Paterson told news.com.au.
He said the first coordinated batch of patients could begin treatment on the drugs, which come in tablet form, by the end of the month, allowing medical experts to accurately monitor their effect.
That way, doctors treating the inevitable increase in cases over the coming months would be better placed and have “the best possible information” at their disposal, Prof Paterson said.
The first cohort of infected individuals in Australia all did “very, very well” on the HIV drug, leaving doctors “very surprised” at the effectiveness of the unlikely treatment, Prof Paterson said.
He said while it was reassuring to have made headway in treating the infection, what researchers required was clinical evidence showing how the drugs worked on patients.
“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 told the publication.
Last week, a biopharmaceutical company in Canada claimed it could have a coronavirus vaccine, produced using plants, ready for public distribution by November.
A state of emergency was declared in Western Australia on Sunday, with Victoria and the ACT following on Monday in a drastic measure to curb to spread of the virus.
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