The WHO has recommended against the general use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 twice in the past two months
The Goa government on Monday approved use of ‘ivermectin’ – an orally-administered drug used to treat parasitic infections – for treatment of COVID-19 patients over the age of 18.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the drug would be available at all health centres, and urged all those eligible to take the medication even if they had no symptoms for coronavirus. He called it a “prophylaxis treatment, as a preventive”.
“Patients will be treated with ivermectin 12mg for a period of five days. Expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain and Japan, found a large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery and viral clearance in COVID-19 patients treated with Ivermectin,” he said.
What Does The Drug Manufacturer Say?
On February 4, Merck – the Germany company that manufactures ivermectin, said there is, at this time, “analysis had identified no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease”. The company added that “the data available supports the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency”.
What Does The World Health Organization Say?
The WHO has already issued one warning about the general use of ‘ivermectin’. That was back in March, when the global health body said there was “very low certainty of evidence” of the drug’s effect on mortality or hospital admission.
Tuesday morning the WHO’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, reiterated that warning.
“Safety and efficacy are important when using any drug for a new indication. WHO recommends against use of ‘ivermectin’ for COVID-19 except within clinical trials,” she tweeted.
— Soumya Swaminathan (@doctorsoumya) May 10, 2021
What Do Other Regulators Say?
Both the United States’ FDA and the European Medical Agency have advised against use of ‘ivermectin’ to treat COVID-19 patients at this stage.
“The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea,” the FDA has said.
“Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses),” it stressed.
In March the EMA issued a similar statement, saying it had “reviewed the latest evidence on use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and concluded that the available data do not support its use for COVID-19 outside well-designed clinical trials.”
What Do Some Studies Say?
There are studies that suggest ‘ivermectin’ is a viable treatment option, such as the review of available data – published in the May-June issue of the American Journal of Therapeutics.
“We conducted the most comprehensive review of the available data on ivermectin,” Pierre Kory, President and Chief Medical Officer of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) – a group of medical and scientific experts that led the study – said.
The authors have claimed a large and statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery, and viral clearance in COVID-19 patients treated with ‘ivermectin’.