A HEAD lice drug may be able to kill coronavirus and could be a possible treatment, a study has claimed.
Anti-parasitic head lice drug Ivermectin has been found to kill the virus in a controlled lab within 48 hours.
A study led by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia showed how a single dose of the drug Ivermectin could stop the Covid-19 from growing in cell culture.
Dr Kylie Wagstaff, from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, said on Friday: “We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA (effectively removed all genetic material of the virus) by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it.”
It is still not known how Ivermectin works on the virus, but the study found the drug can likely stop the virus’ from blocking the host cell from clearing it.
However, clinical trials on people are still a long way off and scientist are still trying to determine what a safe dosage for humans would be.
Dr Wagstaff said: “In times when we’re having a global pandemic and there isn’t an approved treatment, if we had a compound that was already available around the world then that might help people sooner.
“Realistically it’s going to be a while before a vaccine is broadly available.”
It could be at least month before human trials would begin and funding would be needed to be able to go forward with the pre-clinical and clinical trials.
Right now there is no preventative vaccine for Covid-19, but scientists are racing to find a jab to stop the spread and treat the sick.
One potential vaccine is being developed by cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BAT).
The Benson and Hedges maker said on April 1 it could produce between 1 to 3 million doses per week by June if testing goes well but it will need support from government agencies.
The London-listed company says it will begin clinical trials on humans soon and is currently running pre-clinical tests.
In Germany, CureVac are also working on a vaccine, with majority investor and owner of football club Hoffenheim – Dietmar Hopp – has revealed that a breakthrough could be made in the next six to seven months.
Talking to Sport1, he said: “It has to be tested first with animals then with human beings.
“But I think it could be available in autumn at the time when possibly the next wave of infections will come.”
Ivermectin is an US FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug that has shown to be effective against viruses including HIV, dengue and influenza when tested in a controlled lab.
The study findings have been published in Antiviral Research.