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‘We need funding to get moving’: Scientists working on promising treatments for coronavirus

Neil Mitchell

Australian scientists say treatments for the coronavirus are showing promising early signs, but more funding is required.

Professor David Paterson is a Director at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, and said they were working collaboratively among infectious diseases experts.

He said at the moment people were getting the drugs in “one-off treatments” but they were working to establish which treatment option was better.

“What we want to do is rigorously compare the HIV drug with an old malaria drug we don’t use anymore and put them head to head, and see which is better,” he said.

“There is quite a high hope this can prevent people going down that very bad path leading to ICU.

“So hopefully we will be ready to start by the end of March to offer patients in Australian hospitals if they want to come into this study they get either of these two active treatments.

“The hope is that probably within a few months of enrolling patients we will know which is better.”

He said in the test tube, both treatments could inhibit the virus.

When asked about when it could be rolled out to hospitals, he said funding was required.

“We do need funding to get moving,” Professor Paterson said.

“We’re keen to get money to move forward with this as rapidly as possible.”

Earlier in the show, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Neil Mitchell they were working with the medical and research communities and they weren’t “holding back” on funding.

“In the package we have put $30 million into these types of things, I’m sure the Health Minister will be considering all options.”

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Related: Two existing drugs show promising signs

Photo: Getty

Neil Mitchell