New study to find COVID-fighting drugs

New study to find COVID-fighting properties in existing medications: Nearly 50 existing prescription medications already used by Australians will be tested by new research in the fight against COVID’s mutant variants.

The new research, led by Associate Professor Anthony Kicic from the Curtin School of Population Health and the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre at Telethon Kids Institute, will investigate the anti-viral properties of 45 medications already approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Associate Professor Kicic said repurposing existing medications may offer a new shield in the battle against the emerging threats of COVID variants that are continuing to prove deadly.

“There are no specific drugs that act to kill or stop the detrimental effects of a COVID infection, but some may prove beneficial in providing anti-viral benefits,” Associate Professor Kicic said.

“We will screen these drugs using a 3D cell model of the human lung to identify those anti-viral properties that target the virus.

“Treatment with these repurposed drugs may prevent infection, transmission, and the need for hospitalisation, thereby reducing the overall healthcare burden caused by COVID.”

Made possible by almost $1 million in Federal Government funding as part of the 2021 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), this research will provide doctors with an insight into what medications they can prescribe to help someone with COVID.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran congratulated the team on being awarded funding support from the Federal Government through the NHMRC.

“This research has the potential to add to the armoury of interventions and protective measures that we will need globally to successfully combat this disease,” Professor Moran said.

“Repurposing existing drugs is a faster and more effective treatment alternative, and I look forward to hopefully seeing this research eventually tested in a clinical trial.”

Other institutions involved include researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Monash University and the University of British Columbia.

The research will progress to a clinical trial if the research identifies the drugs deemed most effective in the fight against COVID.

For more information about the NHMRC MRFF, visit here.

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