Ivermectin ‘can control the pandemic in Africa’
IN THE wake of a third wave, Africa has seen an upsurge in the use of the drug ivermectin to fight Covid-19.
Ivermectin has been labelled as a “miracle cure” for Covid-19. It has been around for just under 40 years and is used to treat a range of parasitic infections such as lice and scabies.
Dr Paul Marik, of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCC), said there had been an increase of use of ivermectin across the world particularly in the US, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, Eastern Europe, some provinces in India, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and more.
Marik, who is the chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in the US, said ivermectin had few side effects and was on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential medications.
“Over 3.7 billion doses have been dispensed for the treatment of parasitic infections; side effects are very mild – headache, pruritus (itchy skin) – and usually related to the death of the parasite,” he said.
Previously, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), rejected the use of ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19.
“Ivermectin has made headlines recently as a so-called ‘miracle cure’ for Covid-19. However, Sahpra’s stance is unambiguous … Ivermectin is not indicated nor approved by Sahpra for use in humans. There is no confirmatory data on ivermectin available as yet for its use in the management of Covid-19 infections,” the authority said last year.
Sahpra did not respond to queries sent by ANA this week.
However, research shows that the drug is currently being used by 44 countries and is said to bring down the Covid-19 mortality rate by more than 80%.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of ivermectin in humans. This is also the case in European countries.
On June 28, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) issued a statement authorising the use of ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19, but only for research.
“The use of the medicine will be limited to gathering information on whether patients are obtaining clinical benefits from it in the management of Covid-19 cases,” it said.
However, it is Marik's belief that ivermectin is an alternative and cost-effective way of protecting oneself from Covid-19.
“The cost of a 6mg tablet to the WHO is 2c. Ivermectin is very effective for the prevention of Covid-19, for the early treatment of Covid-19, for the late treatment of Covid-19, for the treatment of the post-covid syndrome and the post-vaccine syndrome.
“All supported by the highest level of scientific evidence,” Marik said.
According to the FLCCC, ivermectin has proven efficacy against parasites and also exhibits antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
In Africa, there are 31 countries with ivermectin distribution campaigns and 22 countries without. The impact of the ivermectin distribution campaigns on the morbidity and mortality of Covid-19 were assessed and it was found that the numbers were far lower than that of the countries not using the ivermectin treatment programme.
“The programmes were the strongest predictor of the improved survival and recovery rates amongst Africans. Ivermectin distribution programmes should be considered in any region with rising case counts and fatalities from Covid-19,” the FLCCC findings stated.
The belief among health experts is that the use of ivermectin will result in significant loss of profit for major drug companies.
“This is a cheap and effective drug and threatens the profits of big pharmaceuticals and vaccine manufacturers. If ivermectin were to be declared an effective drug by the WHO, the emergency use authorisation (EUA) for all the vaccines would be null and void. Billions of dollars is at stake,” Marik said.
He said using ivermectin would control the pandemic in Africa.
A meta-analysis of randomised trials of ivermectin to treat Covid-19 was published on Tuesday by Andrew Hill, of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Liverpool, and five other experts.
The analysis investigated ivermectin in 24 randomised clinical trials identified through systematic searches. It found a more than 50% reduction in mortality with “favourable clinical and recovery and reduced hospitalisations”.
The Indian Bar Association (IBA) has gone as far as taking matters to court. It issued a legal writ upon Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at the WHO, on May 25 for allegedly spreading disinformation and misguiding the people of India, in order to fulfil her agenda.
The association said the notice was based on research and clinical trials carried out by the FLCCC and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Panel, who have presented data that strengthen the case for recommendation of ivermectin in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. It alleged that Swaminathan deliberately suppressed the data regarding the effectiveness of ivermectin.
However, the country’s medical research council refused her stance and retained the recommendation for use of the drug for those with mild symptoms and isolating at home.