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Covid-19 and Ivermectin: the politicization of a low-cost antiparasitic

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Around the world, activists and medical professionals are heralding the common antiparasitic ivermectin as a miracle cure for cocaine addiction. Even though senior health professionals in some of those nations have consistently advised against treating coronavirus patients with ivermectin, there is a growing global demand for the drug’s approval.

While dexamethasone, Gilead’s remdesivir, and various monoclonal antibody treatments are among the treatments that some hospitalized Covid-19 patients have been approved for in an emergency, the availability of these medications varies greatly across the globe, with supplies being particularly scarce in the most resource-constrained settings. In light of these conditions and the fact that a considerable number of new cases are still being reported in various countries, some medical professionals and patients may choose to wing it and employ off-label or unapproved treatments.

Ivermectin is a low-cost antiparasitic drug that is one of the newest supposed silver bullets. The 1975-created drug first went on market in the early 1980s, and it became involved in the Covid-19 controversy after Australian researchers discovered last year that it might stop the coronavirus from replicating in vitro .

The drug is now approved for use in treating Covid-19 patients in several of the worst-affected countries, including Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and a sizable chunk of Latin America. It is commonly used to treat human head lice and animal parasites.

Prominent regulatory bodies advise against treating COVID-19 with ivermectin.

The problem? Reputable medical authorities have consistently recommended against using ivermectin to treat coronavirus.

The FDA states that it has received multiple reports of people who “were hospitalized and required medical attention after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses,” and that the drug, which is widely available, is not approved for treatment against Covid-19 in the United States. The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have recommended that ivermectin be used exclusively in clinical trial settings to treat Covid-19. They have also indicated that the available data does not support the drug’s use for the illness “outside well-designed clinical trials.”

The drug’s manufacturer, the massive pharmaceutical company MSD, also issued a warning, claiming that in its analysis of ivermectin, there was “a concerning lack of safety data” in most studies, “no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19 disease,” and “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from pre-clinical studies”.

Despite growing demand, strong evidence for ivermectin is still lacking.

The antiparasitic’s widespread use in Latin America was mostly based on findings from a now-retracted preprint by the health analytics company Surgisphere, which rose to prominence until it was revealed that their Covid-19 data was fundamentally unreliable. Although Peru removed ivermectin off its national coronavirus treatment guidelines in the wake of the controversy, several other countries in the region continue to recommend it Ivermectin Purchase.

Ivermectin has becoming more necessary in places like Bolivia, where health workers distributed 350,000 tablets to northern residents in May of last year as a preventive precaution against Covid-19. Last year, ivermectin clinical trials in the southern part of the continent had problems finding participants because the medication was already widely used by the people, a former Peruvian health minister told Nature.

South America has some of the highest death rates in the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the region’s pervasive poverty. Given that vaccination programs are taking their time to spread, it is not unexpected that people are eager to attack the virus, even though there is little clinical evidence to support the adoption of these inexpensive approaches.

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