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 anti-inflammatory 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 0419558154 or Rachel McIntosh on 0402133315 or email [email protected]