Head lice drug being studied as possible COVID-19 cure

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Research for a COVID-19 cure is underway in Houston and around the world.

Dr. Michael Chang, an infectious disease specialist at McGovern Medical School at UT Health spoke with ABC13 Tuesday.

He said doctors, scientists and public health experts are looking at several drugs including ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and remdesivir.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug commonly used to treat hair lice.

Dr. Chang said there's still so much research and studies to be done to determine what, if anything, is most helpful.

"As far as your audience is concerned, what I think is people are actively looking at it," said Dr. Chang. "We hope that it works just as much as anyone else does. We need to be very cautious because every treatment and every medication we use is going to have some potential side effect. The side effects could be harmful for patients. Anytime you're deciding about a treatment, you have to weigh that risk and benefit possibility for each patient and each intervention that you're using. As of right now, I just don't know the benefit of hydroxychloroquine outweighs the potential risk."

Dr. Chang said the most promise might be in the anti-viral remdesivir. He said clinical trials need to be completed to access its use in fighting COVID-19.

Dr. Chang also talked about convalescent plasma, which is when plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient is used in a sick COVID-19 patient.

"In that plasma, what we're hoping for is that there are antibodies, which are little proteins that can help fight infection," said Dr. Chang. "We're hoping those antibodies can help the patient that is actively infected get a little boost and fight off the infection."

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