Australian researchers are testing a treatment for coronavirus they hope will provide relief for those infected with COVID-19 and limit its spread.
Professor David Morris and his international team have adapted a cancer treatment known as ‘BromAc’ that could prevent the virus moving into the lungs of carriers and spreading to other people.
A trial on coronavirus patients is being established with a Melbourne hospital and could start next month.
BromAc has been under development for 11 years for use in cancer treatment and includes two components that together dissolve the spike of COVID-19, rendering it unable to infect other cells.
One of the core agents is a pineapple stem enzyme tested in the lab after it was observed that pigs eating pineapples were resistant to particular gastro conditions.
“We’ve taken a drug in development for more than a decade and asked whether it can be adapted for treating people infected with COVID-19, Professor David Morris said in a statement on Monday.
“Our lab results show the new drug renders the COVID-19 spike ineffective, stopping it from infecting other cells.
“We hope the results will show the treatment can confine COVID to the nose and throat and prevent lung infection, and stop infected patients from passing on the live virus,” he said.
It’s hoped an infected person could take the medication at the first signs of COVID-19 and stop the virus in its tracks.
“This could provide a very safe and effective way of saving lives, protecting vulnerable workers preventing hospitalisation and getting people infected by COVID returning back to their everyday lives.”
The researchers stress the treatment is not a vaccine for COVID-19 but could work in tandem as a treatment or prevention measure.