Melbourne researchers are looking for people infected with COVID-19 to participate in a trial of an antiviral medication that could speed up their recovery.
The Alfred and Monash University are enrolling symptomatic people with COVID-19 in the first five days of diagnosis to trial Favipiravir, a drug originally developed to treat people with influenza.
Trials are already underway in multiple countries including China, Japan and the United States.
"There were two smaller trials in China which showed Favipiravir cleared the virus more quickly and people with less severe infection recovered more quickly," infectious diseases specialist Dr James McMahon, who is leading the study, said in a statement on Saturday.
"These studies were in a small number of people, so it needs to be studied further in a placebo-controlled study."
Those participating in the Australian trial will be required to take an oral medication twice a day for 14 days and do a swab of the back of their throat every two days.
Half will be given a placebo.
"It is a rigorous way of working out whether this drug helps people clear the virus and recover more quickly," Dr McMahon said.
He said the drug had proven safe in trials studying other viral infections before COVID-19.
"This is why we think it is an excellent candidate to study not only for people in hospitals but also people in their homes with COVID-19," Dr McMahon said.
To take part in the study or for more information visit: https://www.alfredhealth.org.au/research/research-areas/clinical-research-unit-cru/virco-trial
Australian Associated Press