The entire world is actively looking for possible therapies for COVID-19. Ivermectin is also listed as a supposed miracle cure for COVID-19, especially in Latin America, because the drug for treating parasitic diseases in animals and humans is cheap and available without a prescription. It is actually used to treat scabies and diseases caused by parasites. The effects are based on modifications of the chloride channels, leading to paralysis and death of, for example, scabies mites and threadworms.
However, after Australian researchers reported, in June 2020, in the journal Antiviral Research, that ivermectin significantly reduced the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in a preclinical in vitro study, that is, under laboratory conditions, a kind of mass hysteria began around this drug.
Ivermectin awakens hope
In Peru, ivermectin has been widely used to treat the early stages of COVID-19. However, in October, the Peruvian government withdrew a number of drugs, including hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, from its treatment guide for the disease, following indications of their ineffectiveness.
Already at the end of June, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) had underlined in a report that the results on the efficacy of ivermectin to reduce the viral load in laboratory cultures are not enough to indicate that said preparation would be beneficial from the beginning. clinical point of view.
Even so, ivermectin continues to enjoy great popularity in Latin America as a “miracle” drug against covid. In Honduras, for example, the Multisectoral Table for the Economic and Social Opening last week asked the government to allow the “voluntary use of ivermectin prophylactically, to combat COVID-19.
Lack of clinical evidence on its efficacy
However, a really strong proof of efficacy is still missing. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 and warn of side effects. More tests are needed to determine if ivermectin may be adequate to prevent or treat COVID-19, they said.
The South African Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (SAHPRA) also advised against its use in late December 2020, saying there was no confirmatory data yet on ivermectin for use in treating COVID-19 infections. Regarding safety and efficacy, there is no evidence to support the use of ivermectin and no clinical trials are yet available to justify its use.
Ivermectin is on the WHO essential drugs list because it is effective against a wide range of parasites. Just for that, for the moment.