Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug for livestock, entered trial as a COVID-19 treatment in the United Kingdom. The study seeks to know if it could help patients with the novel coronavirus recover more swiftly.
According to BBC, the controversial Ivermectin drug is currently being pushed as a COVID-19 treatment in Latin America and South Africa. It prevails even though no large-scale studies are supporting its effectiveness.
The British outlet noted that the available studies for the parasite drug are either too small in sample size, or low in quality. As such, the actual efficacy of the drug against COVID-19 is still unclear.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as European and United States regulators advise against the use of it for COVID-19 victims as it still needs further evidence.
Ivermectin COVID-19 Treatment Trial
The University of Oxford is studying the drug to put it straight if Ivermectin is definitely effective against COVID-19.
The British government-funded study, dubbed as PRINCIPLE, will specifically answer if Ivermectic helps recovery even without hospital care.
Reuters reported that the study figured that the anti-parasitic drug slightly halts the replication of the virus, at least in laboratory trials. Oxford added that its initial research also shortened the time that the symptoms manifest in some patients.
Bloomberg further noted that the early study showed that Ivermectin reduces the virus inside the respiratory tract of patients.
The co-lead Investigator of the trial, Chris Butler, told Reuters that the researchers "hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against COVID-19." He added that they also wanted to identify the pros and cons of using the drug.
Additionally, the study excludes patients with liver problems who take medication that causes blood thinning.
Ivermectin: Other Use
Bloomberg said in the same report that Ivermectin is commonly used for the treatment of parasitic worms in animals. It is also prescribed by doctors as a remedy to head lice or scabies.
Elsewhere, on October 28, 2015, a study also suggested that the parasitic drug could also kill mosquitoes, which then helps in curbing the spread of Malaria. The medicine works as a poison when it mixes with a person's blood. In turn, the blood-sucking insect will die upon biting.
However, even before the pandemic, the use of Ivermectin is not limited to livestock. Humans use the drug for external use in skin inflammations.
On January 21, a leaked data claimed that the head lice drug reduces COVID-19 death significantly.
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Written by Teejay Boris