An anti-parasitic drug used in horse dewormer and human head lice treatment has Australian scientists “cautiously optimistic” it could be a possible weapon against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

Researchers in a joint study by Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity found that a single dose of ivermectin killed COVID-19 cells within 48 hours in laboratory tests. Findings were published in Antiviral Research – read it here.

Study leader Dr. Kylie Wagstaff remarked, “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. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective – that’s the next step.”

Ivermectin is a widely-used, effective FDA-approved drug that has previously shown usefulness against other viruses including flu, HIV, Dengue fever, and Zika. The method by which ivermectin targets SARS-CoV-2 is unclear, but is thought to be by preventing the virus from repressing the host cells from clearing it from the system.

Please note that the research team and other health professionals caution that more lab and clinical testing is needed (and will require funding) and are strongly urging people not to self-medicate with ivermectin, which can be extremely dangerous.

Watch the Nine News Australia report: