Covid: Could ivermectin reduce infection ‘by 86%’? What research has to say

Donald Trump’s COVID treatment discussed by virology expert

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Repurposed medicines could play a role in the fight against COVID-19. One such drug is the antiparasitic ivermectin, according studies. The drug was said to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and could be used as an alternative for those with, or at high risk of, a Covid infection.

Ivermectin is commonly used in the developing world and has been found to be safe and effective in treating both parasitic and bacterial infections.

Previous research has stated: “The drugs are affordable and readily available in Bangladesh, and thus are a highly attractive alternative for treating COVID-19 patients.”

Early in the pandemic, scientists showed that ivermectin could inhibit the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in cells in laboratory studies.

However, data on ivermectin’s efficacy against COVID-19 in people are still scarce, and study conclusions conflict greatly.

Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises against taking ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment outside clinical trials, the over-the-counter drug has become popular in some regions of the world with certain studies highlighting its effectiveness.

In a study published June last year in the National Library of Health, ivermectin for prevention and treatment of a COVID-19 infection was further investigated.

The study searched bibliographic databases up to 25 April 2021 with meta-analysis being conducted and certainty of the evidence being assessed using the GRADE approach.

Trial sequential analyses for mortality was also searched with 24 randomised controlled trials involving 3406 participants involved.

The study noted: “Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin.

“This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis.

“Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86 percent.

“Secondary outcomes provided less certain evidence.

“Low-certainty evidence suggested that there may be no benefit with ivermectin for ‘need for mechanical ventilation,’ whereas effect estimates for ‘improvement’ and ‘deterioration’ clearly favoured ivermectin use.

“Severe adverse events were rare among treatment trials and evidence of no difference was assessed as low certainty.”

The study concluded that moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin.

It added: “Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease.

“The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”

Ivermectin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or prevent COVID-19. The FDA has issued a warning statement about the dangers of taking this drug in large doses or for unapproved uses.

A recent study by scientists in Malaysia “dismissed the notion of ivermectin being a ‘miracle drug’ against COVID-19.”

The findings have been published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Efficacy of Ivermectin on Disease Progression in Patients With COVID-19

Ivermectin was the drug given to Donald Trump when he had coronavirus and was rolled out to vulnerable Covid patients across the NHS in June last year.

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