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Hispanic Outlook

Worming Our Way Out of COVID-19? An Old Drug May Have Some New Tricks


An inexpensive safe drug combination appears to halt progression of COVID-19, stopping viral replication and shortening length of clinical illness. A joint U.S. and Australian self-funded, conflict-free clinical trial could put a pause on the pandemic.

A common inexpensive relatively safe medication may beat a vaccine to market as a possible way to combat COVID-19.

 

Dr. Sabine Hazan, a California gastroenterologist who has been involved with clinical trials for more than 2 decades is teaming up with the well-respected Australian GI researcher Dr. Thomas Borody to treat COVID-19 in outpatients at its earliest stages with “triple therapy” that Borody is currently utilizing with reportedly great success in his homeland “down under.”  

 

The triple therapy described by Borody includes ivermectin, doxycycline and zinc. A single dose of ivermectin (a common anti-helminthic/anti-parasitic) in vitro was able to effect at ~5000-fold reduction in virus at 48 hours in cell culture. 

 

Dr. Borody is a pioneer in the field of gastroenterology and famously was the first to find a successful treatment protocol for peptic ulcer disease caused by H. pylori in 1989. He has studied the fecal microbiome extensively.  

 

Borody and Hazan will be self-funding U.S. clinical trials (at a price of $3500/patient) through joint venture Topelia Therapeutics.  The combination of doxycycline, zinc and ivermectin are examples of inexpensive off-patent drugs that are FDA approved.  The scientists could not identify any drug companies interested in paying for clinical trials for a drug combination that is unlikely to reap them the handsome profits the middlemen and big pharma seek. Ivermectin is a medicine with over 50 years of experience and has been used to treat parasitic infections in human and veterinary medicine. Studies using ivermectin are underway in 32 other countries at this time and are reportedly promising, including the Dominican Republic, where  Dr. Jose Natalio Redondo reported successful treatment of 1300 patients in the hospital system he oversees. 99% of patients were reported as completely cured (thought to be due to the inhibition of viral replication), and patients’ average duration of infection decreased from 21 days to 10 days.  

 

Borody has called the combination a “wonder drug” but believes that it is essential to  treat patients very early (during the first week of symptom onset).  He is also quoted as saying  “corona is very simple to kill.,,and this triple therapy has very few side effects, and is a real killer of coronavirus,” 

 

Dr. Hazan stated on 8/9/2020 that she is “hopeful this is going to be a game-changer for COVID-19.” But she also points out that there is no “one-pill solution” for everyone.

 

If the trials go well, with expedited FDA approval, this novel triple therapy could be on the market in the United States in blister packs before the end of 2020...unless, of course, the usual players decide to malign this therapy in order to keep profits over patients, panic over pandemic, vaccine over victory.  

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