New research reveals that using Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 helps to reduce deaths and shows a large improvement in recovery.
The study – Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19 – was published in the American Journal of Therapeutics.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many medical professionals looked for potentially effective treatment options.
A medicine which showed potential is the oral antiparasitic agent Ivermectin. It exhibited antiviral and anti-inflammatory mechanisms with trial results reporting significant outcome benefits.
Researchers have now reviewed published peer-reviewed studies, manuscripts posted to preprint servers, expert meta-analyses, and epidemiological analyses to see if Ivermectin is indeed effective.
The results are encouraging.
Meta-analyses of 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of Ivermectin in COVID-19 have found large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.
Furthermore, results from numerous controlled prophylaxis trials report significantly reduced risks of contracting COVID-19 with the regular use of Ivermectin.
“The many examples of Ivermectin distribution campaigns leading to rapid population-wide decreases in morbidity and mortality indicate that an oral agent effective in all phases of COVID-19 has been identified,” the researchers said.
Ivermectin in South Africa
South Africa’s Department of Health has discouraged the use of Ivermectin for management of COVID-19 until the study on its efficacy and safety has been concluded.
Department spokesperson Popo Maja said in January 2021 that the National Essential Medicines List Committee (NEMLC) COVID-19 Sub-Committee has considered all available evidence on the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 with Ivermectin.
“Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend Ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” Maja said.
“Some studies have suggested that Ivermectin may be of benefit in the management of COVID-19, however the evidence that is currently available is preliminary and of low quality.”
Maja noted that studies vary widely in terms of disease severity of participants, medicines, with which Ivermectin was compared and additional medicines that participants received.
He said several Ivermectin studies are currently underway, and the outcomes of these studies will provide the department with more scientific data to make informed decisions.
“As new data becomes available, the sub-committee will continuously review and amend the recommendations accordingly. In the meantime, we discourage the use of Ivermectin outside of well-conducted randomised controlled trials,” he said.
Prescribing Ivermectin in South Africa
In March 2021, civil rights organisation AfriForum successfully obtained a settlement with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to prescribe Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.
Dr George Coetzee, who joined forces with AfriForum in this case, said COVID-19 is a dangerous disease and there is no single wonder drug that can defeat the pandemic on its own.
“The most important factor in the fight against COVID-19 is every person’s immune system,” he said.
“Ivermectin makes a big contribution in this regard, and access to and availability thereof is, especially for the more vulnerable of the population, indispensable for us to heal people.”
AfriForum’s head of research, Barend Uys said the practical implication of the settlement is that doctors can prescribe Ivermectin to patients if, in their judgement, it is required.
It also allows patients to take a prescription to any pharmacy where Ivermectin is available and buy the medicine.
“Ivermectin can now be used for other purposes than stated on the label of the registered medicine – off-label use – that includes the treatment of COVID-19,” Uys said.
Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19