According to a report in The Australian, Australia’s richest man and the billionaire chairman of packaging companies Visy Industries and Pratt Industries, Anthony Pratt, has donated $1 million to fund the trial of two drugs that may help patients suffering from COVID-19.

The drugs, used in the treatment of HIV and arthritis, will be trialled by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne

Pratt also issued ‘a call to arms’ to Australia’s wealthiest to join the fight against COVID-19. “Bushfires unfortunately happen every year, but this is a one-in-100-year event, so this is a call to arms for people to contribute more now,” he said. “We are hoping for a silver-bullet solution. We need to do something, and preferably something within 60 days.”

Doherty Institute Director Sharon Lewin said the trial involves the HIV drug Kaletra and arthritis drug Hydroxychloroquine. It involves giving patients, who are in hospital but not in the ICU, the two drugs and monitoring their condition with those who were not given drugs. The 60-day trial would take place in 60 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, involving 2,440 people at a cost of $6.7 million.

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