Vol­un­teers for Ross River trial

The Riverine Herald - - YOUR OPINION -

VOL­UN­TEERS are be­ing sought to take part in a trial in Echuca to treat Ross River virus.

The trial, to be held at Rich River Health Group, will test the drug pen­tosan poly­sul­fate (PPS).

RRHG reg­is­trar and lead re­searcher Carolyn Sid­del said be­ing a river town, Echuca had an on­go­ing is­sue with Ross River virus, with last year be­ing a par­tic­u­larly bad year.

‘‘Anec­do­tally, there were many pre­sen­ta­tions to all doc­tors in the re­gion from pa­tients with symp­toms,’’ she said.

There is no treat­ment for the virus, but pa­tients are given anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries and cor­ti­cos­teroids to pro­vide symp­to­matic pain re­lief.

Paul Ren­nie, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Paradigm Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals which is spon­sor­ing the trial, said PPS had been used suc­cess­fully and safely to treat other con­di­tions for many decades.

The drug has anti-co­ag­u­la­tive and an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects and has been used to treat blad­der pain and pre­vent deep vein throm­bo­sis for more than 60 years.

‘‘If we can prove its ef­fec­tive­ness for treat­ing Ross River virus, we may be able to get it to pa­tients more quickly,’’ he said.

Vol­un­teers aged be­tween 18 and 65 with symp­toms in two or more joints, last­ing three to nine months af­ter ini­tial in­fec­tion with Ross River virus (con­firmed di­ag­no­sis) are be­ing sought. Dr Sid­del said she hoped to get six vol­un­teers to take part in the trial at Rich River, which would start as soon as they were deemed to fit the cri­te­ria.

‘‘The trial in­volves twice weekly vis­its for an in­jec­tion of ei­ther the trial drug or a placebo, along with reg­u­lar sur­veys and phys­i­cal strength tests,’’ she said. ‘‘The re­sults of the trial, if con­firmed, would en­able us in the fu­ture, as doc­tors, to have a med­i­cal treat­ment for the some­times dis­abling on­go­ing joint pain of Ross River virus.’’

Dr Sid­del she hoped this would be the first of many re­search projects the group would be in­volved in. For in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter your in­ter­est, con­tact project man­agers Danielle Healey on 0419 558 154 or Rachel McIn­tosh on 0402 133 315 or email info@zave.com.au

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