The Goa government, on Monday, as part of a new COVID-19 protocol, recommended all residents above 18 years to take five tablets of Ivermectin, a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic drug. State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the drug will be made available at all health centres, adding that residents, who fall in the aforementioned age group, should take it even if they don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus. He said the state was giving it as a “prophylaxis treatment, as a preventive”.
“Patients will be treated with Ivermectin 12mg for a period of five 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,” the Health Minister claimed.
What Does The Drug Manufacturer Say?
On February 4, Merck, the company that manufactures Ivermectin, in a statement, said that there was no scientific basis “for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies”. The company added that there was “no meaningful evidence ffor a clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19”.
Merck said the company didn’t believe “the data available supports the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency”.
What Does WHO Say About Ivermectin?
The Goa government’s decision comes despite the World Health Organization (WHO), on March 31, saying it should not be used to treat coronavirus patients. In its guidelines, the world health body said that Ivermectin should only be used on COVID-19 patients in clinical trial settings.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the global health body’s chief scientist, too, tweeted that “WHO recommends against use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 except within clinical trials”.
— Soumya Swaminathan (@doctorsoumya) May 10, 2021
Earlier, in March, the WHO had said that there was “very low certainty of evidence” of Ivermectin’s effect on mortality or hospital admission.
Besides, both US FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have not approved the drug for any kind of treatment related to COVID-19.
“Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. In addition, some topical (on the skin) forms of Ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea,” the FDA has said, adding that it is not an anti-viral, and, when taken in large doses, is dangerous and can cause serious harm.
The EMA, too, like WHO, says available data does not support Ivermectin’s use for COVID-19 “outside well-designed clinical trials”.
Medication and drugs to treat or lessen the impact of COVID-19 continue to make headlines across the world, as many countries are battling the pandemic.
India recorded 3.29 lakh fresh cases in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload to 2.29 crore. The death count touched 2,49,992 with 3,876 more people dying of the infection in the last 24 hours.