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Scientists and medical research facilities around the world are jointly working towards developing a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic which has caused 114,270 deaths and a total of 1,853,604 cases as of today .
From hydroxychloroquine to HIV drugs, the trial and testing for an effective medicine for COVID-19 with manageable side effects or no side effects is an on-going process, where scientists are studying related diseases to see the applicability of the previously used vaccines and drugs as well .
In a recent study conducted by researchers from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia, it was found that a type of head lice drug has the potential to be used as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 disease .
Introduced As A Veterinary Drug In 1970
The head lice drug, called Ivermectin was first introduced in in the 1970s as a veterinary drug which has then been used to treat scabies, head lice and several other infections caused by parasites .
In order to find the effectiveness of the drug, Ivermectin was exposed to cells infected with the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus . Upon exposure, there was a significant reduction in the virus in just 24 hours and in the next 24 hours, here was a complete annihilation of the virus.
Within 48 hours, the researchers were able to gather the understanding that just a single dose of Ivermectin had successfully killed the virus in a petri dish.
Complete Destruction Of Virus Within 48 Hours
Ivermectin's ability to completely remove the COVID-19 virus in less than 48 hours indicates the drug's potent antiviral activity . Although scientists are still looking into the working of the head lice drug, its ability to inhibit nuclear transport is believed to the reason behind its effectiveness against the coronavirus .
The head lice drug halts the processes that allow the proteins to move within a virus. By restricting the movement of the proteins; which is otherwise active and moving, thus enabling the replication of the virus and elevation of the infection and reducing the body's antiviral response .
Head Lice Drug Effective For HIV
Although Ivermectin is an anti-bacterial drug, it has been proven beneficial for the treatment of HIV, influenza, Zika, and dengue, in laboratory settings . In a previous study, the HIV drug called Kaletra has been shown to be effective for treating the coronavirus infected persons .
The HIV drug, called Kaletra has been in use for months in a hospital in China where the drug is being prescribed along with a second drug, bismuth potassium citrate.
According to the study published by the BioScience Trends journal, Kaletra in combination with the flu drug arbidol and traditional Chinese medicine were used to treat coronavirus patients, who showed positive improvements .
Researchers Hopeful About Head Lice Drug For COVID-19
The initial findings of the study are being treated as ‘promising' by the group of researchers as the drug's effectiveness against COVID-19 is ‘strong.' In addition to this, Ivermectin drug has already been established as a drug safe for human consumption .
However, its usage to cure COVID-19 positive patients still remains to be checked. The group of researchers are extremely hopeful that the drug could be a possible vaccine due to its ability to inhibit nuclear transport, which is effective against the coronavirus. By stopping the process of protein movement within the virus, Ivermectin, if success in the human trials will speed-up the development for a COVID-19 treatment - because as aforementioned, the drug has already been established as a drug safe for human consumption .
On A Final Note…
The need to develop or find an effective vaccine for the coronavirus diseases has become extremely critical, considering the hike in the number of covid-19 positive cases. Also, WHO has reported that a vaccine has to be developed soon to control the spread, which otherwise can result in the annihilation of the economy.
WARNING: Please note that the drug has simply shown promising results on a cellular level, and is yet to be tested on humans to gauge how effective it is against COVID-19. Experts warn that it is important not to consume, hoard, or prescribe this drug.