To support in containing the COVID-19 epidemic, the Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan (MOST) proactively promotes cooperation between the domestic academic research community and foreign academic research institutions to assist in fighting the virus SARS-CoV-2. The Research Center for Emerging Virus Infections (RCEVI) of the Chang Gung University, supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan, will cooperate with the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) in Australia to study the effectiveness of the anti-parasitic drug "Ivermectin" in inhibiting the novel coronavirus and possibly leading to the development of new antiviral drugs in the future.
The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute announced on April 3 that the research they carried out with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity found that ivermectin drugs can inhibit the growth of SARS-CoV-2 within 48 hours and help cells to clear up the virus. After the news was released, it attracted worldwide attention and heated discussion. After assessment of the case by the MOST, director Shin-Ru Shih of the RCEVI was invited as chief researcher to discuss with the Australian research team regarding the study of ivermectin.
The researchers from both parties held the first video conference on May 7. Both parties showed a very high willingness to cooperate, and together reached a consensus on specific follow-up cooperation projects. In the future, RCEVI will provide virus isolates as well as P2 / P3 laboratory equipment, while the team from Australia will provide experimental drugs to jointly study the inhibitory effect of ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the cooperation will be further extended to HIV, Zika, the influenza, and dengue virus. Both parties also agreed that Chang Gung University and Monash University will sign cooperation and confidentiality agreements on behalf of both parties. Once the agreement is signed, specific research will be carried out as soon as possible. The MOST will also continue to follow up the progress of the cooperation between the two parties and provide support whenever necessary, with a view to producing concrete results as early as possible to help fight the epidemic.
The RCEVI was established in 2009, and has continuously carried out the research projects of the MOST. The RCEVI core mission is to respond to the impact and threats caused by emerging viruses such as SARS, avian influenza (H1N1), etc. on socio-economic, transportation, ecological, and educational levels.
Hua-Wei, Michael, CHANG,
Department of International Cooperation and Science Education
Ministry of Science and Technology
Science and Technology Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia