"The pre-clinical trials were held and [they] showed that this medicine, Mefloquine, fully suppresses, 100 percent, the cytopathic effect of the virus in 48 hours after the infection but in a very small dose, 2 micrograms by 1 millilitre," Skvortsova told a press conference.
According to the official, the drug lowers the cytopathic effect of the virus by 50-75 percent even when used before the infection, so it could be used as a preventive step.
At least 70 percent of the patients treated with Mefloquine had consistent improvement, Skvortsova added.
"With Mefloquine, 70 percent are virus-free by the end of the course, that is, the first week, but the research continues, this is preliminary data, of course. It needs the research to be finished and the data to be statistically analyzed," Skvortsova said.
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, medics put hope in Remdesivir, a drug manufactured by the American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the drug failed its first clinical trial.