MORE volunteers are being sought to take part in a local clinical trial to treat Ross River virus.
The trial, being held at Rich River Health Group (RRHG), started in September last year and has recruited five patients from Echuca, Swan Hill and Benalla.
RRHG registrar and lead researcher Carolyn Siddel said the original goal was to have 12-15 participants but anyone who qualified was welcome.
‘‘The reason to take part is to be able to play a part in medical research being done in our community that hopefully will be an ongoing aspect to our work in the region,’’ she said.
‘‘There is a possibility that their participation will enable a treatment to be given to patients to prevent long-term damage, as well as a possible benefit to themselves from participating.’’
The trial is testing the drug pentosan polysulfate (PPS) which 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.
Although Dr Siddel could not discuss any findings yet, she said participants had been managing the trial protocol well.
An average of 5000 confirmed cases of Ross River are reported nationally every year, but in Victoria’s north alone more than 800 cases have been detected this year.
The recent Ross River outbreak along Australia’s east coast has left many victims with severe joint pain due to the arthritis associated with the virus.
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 if it could prove PPS’s effectiveness for treating Ross River virus, it may be able to get it to patients more quickly.
Volunteers aged between 18 and 65 with symptoms in two or more joints, lasting from 12 weeks to 52 weeks after initial infection with a confirmed diagnosis, are being sought to take part.
For information or to register your interest, contact project managers Danielle Healey on 0419558154 or Rachel McIntosh on 0402133315 or email [email protected]