Ivermectin, a well-known anti-parasitic drug, is to be investigated in a UK study at the University of Oxford. Early studies have shown the drug to reduce viral load and the length of symptoms for those with mild infection. In South Africa, the drug had not been approved for human consumption, with many turning to the black market to source the potentially life-saving drug. While many medical experts and scientists tried to explain the benefits of ivermectin, many were on the opposing side. In an article published on BizNews, SAHPRA’s Nathan Geffen referred to the obsession with ivermectin as “dangerous”, but wrote that “there is promising evidence that ivermectin is useful for the treatment of Covid-19. But that evidence falls short of what’s required to approve a drug.” Since then, the drug has been approved for use locally on “compassionate grounds.” Medical professors at the University of Oxford are hoping that this latest trial will provide robust evidence on ivermectin’s efficacy against Covid-19. Listen to a BizNews interview (below) with Professor Eli Schwarz, who believes the drug can even break the chain of transmission. – Jarryd Neves
Parasite drug analysed as possible Covid treatment in UK trial
By Katharine Gemmell
(Bloomberg) – A drug used to treat parasite infections in humans and livestock will be investigated as a possible treatment for Covid-19 in a large UK study at the University of Oxford.
The medicine, known as ivermectin, has antiviral properties and initial preliminary studies have shown it can reduce viral load, the amount of virus in the respiratory tract, and the length of symptoms in those with a mild infection, according to a statement from the university.
Ivermectin has been in use for decades to treat livestock infested with parasitic worms, while in humans it’s used as a topical ointment for diseases including skin infections. It’s already been approved for use on compassionate grounds in a controlled-access programme in South Africa, and health authorities have reported widespread use of the drug on the black market. The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency recommend that it only be used in clinical trials, as more data is needed to support its use.
The drug will be analysed as part of the Platform Randomised Trial of Treatments in the Community for Epidemic and Pandemic Illnesses, or Principle, the world’s largest clinical trial of potential treatments for the virus in non-hospital settings. Eligible U.K. participants with Covid-19 symptoms can join the ivermectin trial, which is being evaluated alongside the influenza antiviral favipiravir.
“By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like Principle, we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against Covid-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use,” said Chris Butler, a professor of medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the study’s lead authors.