Leaked data of a new study on using the head lice treatment against coronavirus shows the risk of deaths among hospitalized COVID patients is reduced by up to 80%.
According to Daily Mail, Liverpool University's Department of Pharmaclogy virologist Dr. Andrew Hill claimed that Ivermectin, which only costs as low as $2, was can also found to potentially be used as treatment against coronavirus.
Virologist uses head lice treatment against coronavirus
Discovered in the 1970s, Ivermectin has become an essential drug for a wide range of parasitic infections, including scabies and head lice. As an oral tablet for scabies, it is marketed as Stromectol, as a skin cream against rosacea, it is Soolantra, while it was approved in the United States in 2020 for head lice treatment as Sklice.
While the drug is currently prescribed as antiparasitic in the U.K. and US, some scientists are studying the use of this head lice treatment against SARS-CoV-2. In leaked slides of his study that is due for release later in January, Dr. Hill and his research team combined results from 11 trials of Ivermectin, which involves over 1,400 patients.
Dr. Hill's study showed that only eight out of 573 hospitalized COVID patients who received Ivermectin died, compared to 44 deaths out of the 510 patients who received a placebo. Scientists claimed Ivermectin paralyzes the coronavirus and overwhelms its nervous system to inhibit it from replicating and ceasing it from its tracks.
Also, taking Ivermectin makes it faster to get the coronavirus out of the body, two studies included in the research suggested. In an Egypt trial in which 100 mild COVID patients have cleared the virus in five days on average after taking the drug while another 100 patients who did not receive it took 10 days to recover.Meanwhile, 100 severe COVID patients who took Ivermectin have recovered within about six days, while those who did not took around 12 days to get rid of the virus
The Australian virologist said the drug can be 'transformational' in the battle against coronavirus. "If we see these same trends observed consistently across more studies then this really is going to be a transformational treatment," Dr. Hill noted in the leaked presentation.
Meanwhile, three more trial results will be published later this month, and a bigger set of studies on 7,100 participants will be released later in 2021.
Other scientists are skeptical of this "wonder treatment"
Other scientists were skeptical of the study findings as it requires more data before it could be regarded as a potential treatment. In fact, Ivermectin is a controversial drug as some researchers regard it as a wonder drug.
However, skeptics fear that it would have the same path as hydroxychloroquine touted as a game-changer against coronavirus. They noted that the malaria drug as well as other drugs like tocilizumab showed great promise during the early trial phases but turned out to have no benefit.
In August, University of Sydney head of pharmacy Professor Andrew McLachlan said that "huge uncertainty" remained about whether Ivermectin was a safe and effective treatment against coronavirus. "All we have are observational studies and clinicians' opinions," McLachlan said.
He added that many of the current studies use weak study designs, a few participants, and relatively low and inconsistent dosing regimes of Ivermectin, which is also given along with other drugs.
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Written by CJ Robles