We closely track worldwide research into COVID-19 treatments.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) assesses the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 treatments before provisionally approving their use in Australia.
The Australian Government has convened a large group of clinical experts to form the National Clinical Evidence Taskforce. The role of the Taskforce is to create evidence-based Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19.
Healthcare workers in Australia treat patients with COVID-19 according to these guidelines.
The Clinical Evidence Taskforce continuously reviews the latest evidence in maintaining and updating its treatment recommendations.
Treatments available from the National Medical Stockpile
The TGA has provisionally approved the following treatments for COVID-19. The National Medical Stockpile (NMS) distributes these treatments to state and territory governments for use in their health systems. For more information, visit the TGA website.
Tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld)
On 24 February 2022 TGA granted provisional approval for tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld®) for the prevention of COVID-19 in people who are at risk of infection but have not been exposed to the virus. This is known as pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19.
The TGA provisionally approved Xevudy® on 20 August 2021. Xevudy can be used within the first 5 days of symptoms starting in patients aged 12 years or older with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progression to severe disease.
The TGA provisionally approved Veklury® on 10 July 2020. Veklury can be used in adults hospitalised with moderate to severe COVID-19.
The TGA provisionally approved the first oral treatments for COVID-19 in Australia, molnupiravir (Lagevrio®) and nirmatrelvir + ritonavir (Paxlovid®), on 18 January 2022.
Find out more about oral treatments for COVID-19.
Off-label use of medication
TGA approval for a medicine to treat one condition, does not mean that it is safe to treat another condition. Doctors who prescribe medicines 'off-label' must consider the risks for the patient. Patients must provide informed consent.
Not recommended for COVID-19
The TGA has not approved, and the National Clinical Evidence Taskforce guidelines do not recommend, the following treatments for COVID-19.
Ivermectin, doxycycline, zinc
There is not enough evidence to support the safe and effective use of these drugs (separately, or in combination) to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The Clinical Evidence Taskforce does not recommend the use of ivermectin, doxycycline or zinc outside of properly conducted clinical trials with appropriate ethical approval.
The Clinical Evidence Taskforce strongly recommends that people do not use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine has well known risks including:
toxic effects on the heart (potentially leading to heart attacks)
irreversible eye damage
lowering blood sugar levels (potentially leading to coma).