Recent research from Israel found that COVID-19 could be treated by Ivermectin, a low-cost drug used to fight parasites in third-world countries, the Jerusalem Post reported last week.
The Post cited the research by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer stating that administering Ivermectin to COVID-19 patients could help to reduce the length of infections drastically. Also importantly, the anti-parasite drug costs only less than $1 a day.
Professor Eli Schwartz, founder of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease at Sheba Medical Center, researched from May 2020 till Jan. 2021 to evaluate the efficacy of Ivermectin in reducing viral shedding among non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate infection.
The study has wrapped up recently, showing that Ivermectin, which was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, can help to minimize the impact of COVID-19 both safely and effectively.
Ivermectin itself brought a Nobel Prize for in 2015 its discoverers who successfully used the drug to treat onchocerciasis, a disease caused by infection with a parasitic roundworm. In the last decade, several clinical studies have started to show its antiviral activity against viruses ranging from HIV and the flu to Zika and West Nile.
The study results, published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, showed that a five-day course of Ivermectin costs about $10 in Israel and around $0.60-1.80 in Bangladesh.
In the Israeli research, 89 eligible adult volunteers who were diagnosed with coronavirus and staying in state-run COVID-19 hotels were divided into two groups: one received Ivermectin, and the other received a placebo. They took the pills three days in a row, an hour before a meal.
The results showed that about 72% of volunteers treated with ivermectin tested negative for the coronavirus by day six. In contrast, 50% of those who received the placebo tested negative.
Regarding the culture viability, meaning how infectious the patients were by the end of the regimen, only 13% of the Ivermectin group was still infectious after six days, compared to 50% in the placebo group.
“Our study shows first and foremost that Ivermectin has antiviral activity,” Schwartz said. “It also shows that there is almost a 100% chance that a person will be noninfectious in four to six days, which could lead to shortening isolation time for these people. This could have a huge economic and social impact.”
During Schwartz’s study, there was not any signal of significant side effects among Ivermectin users.
Despite Ivermectin’s positive results, Schwartz said that no one wanted to publish them.
“There is a lot of opposition,” he said. “We tried to publish it, and it was kicked away by three journals. No one even wanted to hear about it. You have to ask how come when the world is suffering.”
“This drug will not bring any big economic profits,” and so Big Pharma doesn’t want to deal with it, he said.