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Rinehart funds world-first international coronavirus trial

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Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart has poured millions of dollars into a world-first coronavirus trial spearheaded by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation.

The trial, dubbed ALLIANCE COVID-19, will be the first in the world to test a multiple combination of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, zinc, the antibiotic azithromycin and high-dose intravenous vitamin C.

Ms Rinehart, Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting Group, donated $2.6 million to the RBWHF to launch the trial and another $2 million to finance hospitals in the US.

“Australia has a long and very important alliance with the United States, and we are very pleased to be working together to help patients, hospital staff and volunteers and the many serving in various capacities against COVID-19, in both our countries with trials that aim to lead to shorter hospital stays and more lives saved via more effective COVID-19 treatment protocols,” she said.

“To have such trial will also be important for those needing to return to work, and the families they live with, plus of course those in high risk categories.”

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital research ambassador Professor Jeff Lipman said he had been inspired by the success of smaller studies overseas using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin together.

It comes as new research suggests SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may have mutated into multiple strains.

The South China Morning Post reports different strains generate vastly different "viral loads" meaning there are some strains which are more potent and therefore far more dangerous.

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