On the heels of a study that found regular use of the oral antiparasitic drug ivermectin could significantly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, the Goa government has recommended the drug be administered to all adults, as a prophylaxis (preventative) treatment.
“With the support of the Hon'ble CM @DrPramodPSawant, the Government of Goa will be starting the Prophylaxis treatment for those above 18 years of age. I have given instructions for immediate implementation of the treatment,” tweeted Health Minister Vishwajit Rane.
“Patients will be treated with Ivermectin 12mg for a period of 5 days. Expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain and Japan, found a large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery and viral clearance in Covid-19 patients treated with Ivermectin,” Rane said.
Rane noted that the drug would not prevent COVID-19, but rather, would help reduce the severity of the disease.
“However, this does not prevent Covid-19 infection but helps in reducing the severity of the disease and at the same time one should not have a false sense of security and complacency but strictly take all the precautionary measures and follow laid SOP’s.,” he tweeted.
“Furthermore, the tablet will be made available at all the District, Sub-district, PHCs, CHCs, Sub Health Centers, RMDs as well as GMC so that the people can come and collect these medications and start the treatment immediately, irrespective of any symptoms or anything,” he said.
Research on ivermectin
Research on ivermectin's role against COVID-19 has split governments and health officials, with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending against using the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19, while the World Health Organisation suggests it only be used in clinical trials.
In its advisory to consumers, the FDA warns that taking large doses of the drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm, suggesting that users take it only via prescription and exactly as prescribed. “Never use medications intended for animals on yourselves,” the FDA warns.
However, the study published in the May-June issue of the American Journal of Therapeutics claims to be the most comprehensive review of the available data on ivermectin taken from clinical, in vitro, animal, and real-world studies, its authors said.
"We conducted the most comprehensive review of the available data on ivermectin," said Pierre Kory, president and chief medical officer of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), a group of medical and scientific experts, which led the study.
"We applied the gold standard to qualify the data reviewed before concluding that ivermectin can end this pandemic," Kory said in a statement.
A focus of the study was on the 27 controlled trials available in January 2021, 15 of which were randomised controlled trials (RCT's).
The authors found large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery and viral clearance in COVID-19 patients treated with ivermectin.
To evaluate the efficacy of ivermectin in preventing COVID-19, three RCT's and five observational controlled trials including almost 2,500 patients were analysed.
All studies reported that ivermectin significantly reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 when used regularly, the authors said.
Many regions around the world now recognise that ivermectin is a powerful prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19, the researchers said.
The results as seen in this latest study demonstrate that the ivermectin distribution campaigns repeatedly led to "rapid population-wide decreases in morbidity and mortality," they said.
"Our latest research shows, once again, that when the totality of the evidence is examined, there is no doubt that ivermectin is highly effective as a safe prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19," said Paul E. Marik, founding member of the FLCCC and Chief, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in the US.
"We are calling on regional public health authorities and medical professionals around the world to demand that ivermectin be included in their standard of care right away so we can end this pandemic once and for all," Marik added.
With inputs from PTI