Tapeworm drug could be used to fight Covid in kidney patients

  • Watch a report by ITV Anglia's Rebecca Haworth

A new clinical trial taking place at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge will look at whether a drug usually used to treat tapeworms could help protect kidney patients from Covid-19.  

Niclosamide has been re-formulated into a nasal spray for people to use twice a day. 

Early research into the drug used for coronavirus patients has shown that it could stop the virus multiplying and entering cells of the upper airways.

Kidney Research UK, the Peterborough charity behind the initiative, says this is an important step.

We must do everything we can to protect kidney patients, who are at serious risk from Covid-19. Many of those on dialysis are having to put themselves at risk and attend their renal unit for life-saving dialysis treatment several times each week. Kidney patients should have the vaccine, as soon as they are offered it. We hope this trial will add an extra layer of protection for kidney patients.

Professor Jeremy Hughes, Kidney Research UK

According to the charity one in five kidney patients receiving dialysis in hospital or who have had a kidney transplant, died within four weeks if they tested positive for the virus. 

The trial will see some people given a placebo drug, whilst others are given the Niclosamide.

If the trial is successful it will be rolled out across the UK