Ivermectin for COVID-19: What’s the Final Verdict?

Since the first days of the pandemic, the supposed miraculous effect of ivermectin against COVID-19 has been discussed. But almost three years after the global health crisis, there is still no solid evidence to support this.

On the contrary, there is growing evidence of the drug’s lack of activity against SARS-CoV-2 or the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease.

This week, Medscape published a report on what appeared to be the final verdict on the deworming drug as a treatment for COVID-19. According to the medical website, there is reason to believe that ivermectin is not an effective drug against coronavirus infection.

Citing the TOGETHER trial, which included data from 1,400 patients from Brazil, Medscape said there was no significant difference in hospitalizations or emergency room visits between those randomized to ivermectin vs. placebo or other treatment.

Randomized trials also showed no effect of the drug on COVID-19 patients, dashing everyone’s hopes for a more affordable drug for the viral infection.

Besides being cheap, ivermectin is widely available. So when anecdotal reports and early cohort studies suggested it might be an economical way to treat COVID-19, there was a buzz on social media about its promising effects.

There was even a story that the authorities were suppressing the good news about the antiparasitic drug because the bosses of big pharmaceuticals were eager to make a lot of money from the vaccine.

There was also a bit of a stir in February when the medical group called the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) included ivermectin in the “i-recovery” protocol for drugs, vitamins and treatments for chronic COVID.

The group said that due to limited clinical research on the post-COVID syndrome, it came up with the “i-recovery” recommendations “based on the pathophysiological mechanisms of COVID-19 and post-viral diseases” and “their collective experience of observing profound and sustained clinical responses .”

It should be noted that ivermectin was not the only drug recommended by the group as first-line treatment. Prednisone, naltrexone, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D were also included in the protocol.

Despite the recommendation, other studies of ivermectin showed a negative attitude towards its use in the treatment of COVID-19. One of them was a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August that claimed the drug could not treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.

For the study, the researchers studied ivermectin, metformin, and fluvoxamine, and all three failed to demonstrate effectiveness in preventing low oxygen levels, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even death from COVID-19.

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