Groundbreaking coronavirus pill to be trialled in Australia in the hope of protecting thousands of medics on the frontline
- Doctors and nurses to be given preventative pill to stop the deadly coronavirus
- The antiviral autoimmune drug has been used for over 70 years around the world
- Around 2250 frontline health workers are set to take part in the world-first trial
- The drug may bring relief to health authorities as globe scrambles for a vaccine
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Australian health workers are set to become the first in the world to be given a preventative treatment for the deadly coronavirus.
Expected to be granted ethical approval by Australian medical authorities over the next 10 days, 2250 Doctors and nurses on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic will take part in the four-month trial.
Half the participants involved will take two 200mg hydroxychloroquine pills per day, while the others will be given a placebo.
Researchers believe the antiviral properties in the autoimmune drug, which has been used around the world for over 70 years, could help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A nurse takes a sample from a driver at a new COVID-19 drive-through testing facility at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre in Adelaide
Frontline Doctors and nurses in Australia will be given a coronavirus pill in world-first trial that may help prevent infection
According to the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Doug Hilton, if successful, it could bring much needed relief to health authorities as the world scrambles to find a vaccine.
‘If you have a new disease like COVID-19, the quickest way to identify treatments is to use medicines that are already approved and safe for other things,’ he told the MailOnline Wednesday.
Although the Melbourne-based medical research institute still have a few hurdles to jump through before the trial can go ahead, Mr. Hilton said he is very confident the trial will proceed.
‘We believe we have funding for it now,’ he said.
‘We have not officially been told that but it looks very promising from the Federal Government and yes, we’re going to push forward with the trial.’
Doug Hilton (pictured) is the Director for the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the organisaiton who will administer the groundbreaking trial
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is a medical research facility based in Melbourne, Australia
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the proposal was very promising.
‘There are new proposals which have come to us today which have been brought forward by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute – one of the great medical research institutes, not just in Australia but in the world, a storied home of Nobel Laureates,’ he said.
‘And that institute is looking at the potential for prophylaxis, or preventive deployment. And we are considering that immediately, and I am hopeful that within the next 48 hours, that they will have provided a strong case, but I am very predisposed to accept that.’
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt speaking at a media conference at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, 12 March 2020
If successful, the trial could bring much needed relief to health authorities as the world scrambles to find a vaccine to the deadly coronavirus
With a total of 2107 coronavirus cases now confirmed across Australia, including eight deaths, Mr. Hilton said it’s crucial to protect hospital staff.
‘We want to make sure workers on the frontline don’t get sick themselves — for them and their families — but also for the community,’ he said.
‘If we can keep our healthcare workers on the frontline then they have a much better chance of being able to look after us when we get sick.’