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22 May 2020

RRIF: The most promising therapeutics for COVID-19

Some of Australia’s leading doctors and researchers have reported that despite there being no effective drug treatments against COVID-19, it’s reasonable to expect a range of therapeutics in the next 12 to 24 months.

The report forms part of the Australian Academy of Science’s Rapid Research Information Forum (RRIF), established to rapidly share information and form collaborations within the Australian research and innovation sector.

Doherty Institute Director Professor Sharon Lewin and Institute Patron Laureate Professor Peter Doherty were among the authors of the report submitted to the Commonwealth Government which focussed on the most promising therapeutics for COVID-19.

There are more than 200 different COVID-19 therapeutics being tested globally in more than 1,100 registered clinical trials.

“COVID-19 therapeutics are applicable at three stages of the disease: to prevent early infection from progressing to severe disease, to treat severe symptomatic disease and to address complications of the disease, primarily blood clots,” the authors wrote.

“Researchers globally, including in Australia, are testing repurposed drugs as well as developing new therapeutics.

“Given our knowledge derived from developing therapeutics for other RNA viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, and the intense global effort for COVID-19, it is reasonable to expect a range of effective therapeutics in the next 12 to 24 months.”

A  number of drugs that have been heavily reported on in the media as being effective were also addressed.

“Trials investigating therapeutics are still in the early stages and findings should be approached with caution while further data are collected and analysed,” the authors reported.

“Remdesivir has captured headlines because of a press release announcing that the drug reduces time to recovery in a large study with over 1,000 participants, but the full report of this trial is as yet unpublished.

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are the most tested therapeutics, but there are no completed studies of large randomised trials and there are toxicity concerns when used at higher doses.”

CLICK HERE to read more RRIF reports contributed to by Doherty Institute researchers.