Ivermectin shows us how hard it is to use old drugs for COVID
Prof Michael Parker (Bio21 Institute, Dept of Biochemistry & Pharmacology) and co-authors discuss the challenges and opportunities for drug repurposing.
Many hopes have been pinned on repurposing existing drugs, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, to treat COVID-19. However, we shouldn’t be too surprised these drugs haven’t yet lived up to the hype.
The recent study by Prof Michael Parker from the School of Biomedical Sciences, Jonathan Baell (Monash University) and Michael Jennings (Griffith University) published in Science Translational Medicine, shows it’s difficult to repurpose existing drugs for new diseases or for new uses.
It highlights some of the important aspects in successfully repurposing medicine that are often overlooked - like financial considerations, intellectual property, the clinical and regulatory pathway, ethical justification and false positive results.
Don’t always believe what you read
If drug repurposing is to work, there needs a considered and specialised scientific and commercial approach, specific to each drug and problem being solved.
The article was originally published in The Conversation, 23 September 2021.