Dr Kylie Wagstaff is the name that’ll possibly be remembered in the ages to come. Why? The study led by her has instilled a ray of hope in the difficult time that the world is going through. She led the research that has found a possible cure for COVID-19. According to the study,  a single dose of the drug, Ivermectin, could stop the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) virus growing in cell culture. The antiparasitic drug which is already available around can kill the virus within 48 hours, the study says. The results are, however, in-vitro and its effect on humans is yet to be examined.

Key Takeaways:

  • A collaborative study led by Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) in Melbourne, Australia, with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), has found a possible cure of COVID-19.
  • The study led by Dr Kylie Wagstaff, a senior research fellow at Monash University, found that Ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic drug can not only kill the coronavirus in lab settings but also stops the virus from growing in cell culture. 
  • The results of the study are in vitro and how effective is the drug in the killing of the virus in humans is yet to be identified. 

Although the mechanism by which Ivermectin works on the virus is not known, it is likely, based on its action in other viruses, that it works to stop the virus ‘dampening down’ the host cells’ ability to clear it. – Dr Kylie Wagstaff

Also Read: How we did it: Coronavirus Survivors talk about their experience

Who Is Dr Kylie Wagstaff?

Dr Kylie Wagstaff is a National Breast Cancer Foundation Career Development Fellow within the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, at Monash University, Australia, and Head of the Cancer Targeting and Nuclear Therapeutics Laboratory. She has been actively researching the regulation of transport into and out of the eukaryotic cell nucleus, and how this relates to viral disease, cancer and development for the last 18 years.

She has been bestowed with a number of accolades as well. Her major awards include the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Career Development Fellowship(2017), the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Young Scientist Program Prize (2009) and Caroline Chisholm award for service (2015). In 2012, she made her first breakthrough finding of Ivermectin, when she identified the drug and its antiviral activity with Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Professor David Jans, also an author on the paper on coronavirus.

Also Read: 7 Indian Virologists Who Are Leading Breakthroughs around the World

Even A Single Dose Of Ivermectin Effective In Killing The Virus

The study conducted by Monash University in collaboration with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) found that the Ivermectin drug stopped the growth of SARC-CoV-2 virus in cell culture within 48 hours. “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,” study’s lead author Kylie Wagstaff said.

This is not the first time that Ivermectin has proved to be effective against a deadly virus. The antiparasitic drug has also been effective in-vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.”Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective – that’s the next step,” Dr Wagstaff said.

“In times when we’re having a global pandemic and there isn’t an approved treatment, if we had a compound that was already available around the world then that might help people sooner. Realistically it’s going to be a while before a vaccine is broadly available. Although the mechanism by which Ivermectin works on the virus is not known, it is likely, based on its action in other viruses, that it works to stop the virus ‘dampening down’ the host cells’ ability to clear it,” Dr Wagstaff added.

Also Read: No time to point fingers, time for solidarity and alertness

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