Home South African Russian antiviral drug being tested in SA as treatment for Covid-19

Russian antiviral drug being tested in SA as treatment for Covid-19

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The antiviral drug Triazavirin (TZV) is used as a treatment for 15 types of flu

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SOUTH African scientists are testing a new antiviral drug to evaluate its efficacy in treating Covid-positive patients.

The antiviral drug, Triazavirin (TZV), is developed in Russia and it is used as a treatment for 15 types of flu.

Lead investigative scientist for the trial, Professor Neil Martinson, says the trial will be in two phases, where researchers will test if the virus that causes Covid-19 is indeed affected by Triazavirin.

“Sixty-four adults will be selected who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19. They will be treated with either a placebo capsule or with the Triazavirin capsule three times a day for five days,” he said.

“All 64 patients will have daily swabs to check if the patients who are randomly assigned to receive Triazavirin clear the virus from their throat sooner than the groups that receive the placebo.

“In the second part of the trial, half the patients will receive the drug and half will get the placebo. However, this time the patients will be followed up to see if there is a difference between the patients that received the drug and those that received the placebo.”

In February last year, the drug was tested in China as treatment for the novel coronavirus. In this pilot trial, TZV showed potential for treating Covid-19 due to its antiviral effects by generally reducing inflammatory reactions and thus reducing damage to vital organs and the need for therapeutic support.

The trial is being conducted at the Perinatal HIV Research UNIT (PHRU) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Pharmacentrix, a South African pharmaceutical company, has the rights to Triazivirin in South Africa and is funding the clinical trial.

“After getting approval from SAHPRA (SA Health Products Regulatory Authority) and the Wits Ethics Committee, the PHRU started the clinical trial at the Tshepong Hospital in the North West province with Prof Variava and at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Gauteng,” said the director of Pharmacentrix, Vikash Maharaj.

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