Ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure: a dubious science
There are a lot of studies that aren’t conclusive, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there.
However, many Americans now consider a deworming treatment to be the first line of defense against the Delta variant.
Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, has been flying off the shelves in some regions of the United States for the past month, according to Frank Wallmeyer and several other farm supply store owners.
Ivermectin sales have nearly tripled at Wallmeyer’s business in Jacksonville, Florida, and the phone rings at least a dozen times a day with questions about the drug, according to Wallmeyer.
Many of those who inquired, however, was not looking for a way to get rid of worms in the intestines of cattle and horses.
Rather, they wanted to utilize the medicine to prevent and treat COVID-19 in themselves or their loved ones.
Despite the absence of scientific proof, some doctors and campaigners tout ivermectin as a miracle COVID-19 cure, and it appears to be in high demand among unvaccinated Americans.
As the fast-spreading Delta strain wreaks havoc across the country, vaccine skeptics have turned to ivermectin for relief.
Although the FDA has approve ivermectin for the treatment of some parasites in humans and animals, it is not license for use against COVID-19.
A recent spike in calls and cases connect with ivermectin usage and overdose is being document by poison control centers in numerous states, including Florida, Mississippi, and Texas.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that more than 88,000 prescriptions for ivermectin are writing in the week of August 13, 2021, a 24-fold increase over the pre-pandemic baseline of 3,600 prescriptions per week.
Despite the FDA’s objections, some doctors were prescribing the medication for COVID-19.
“It significantly complicates the management of [COVID-19] patients because there are so many and there is so much misinformation,” says John Sinnott, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine who is also connected with Tampa General Hospital.
In addition, medicine compositions and doses differ between animals and humans, and the FDA advised that swallowing the concentrated animal version, which contains inert components not studied for use in humans, could cause harm.
The FDA issued a warning on August 21 in a tweet, saying, “You are not a horse.”
You aren’t a cow at all. Seriously, you guys. Put a stop to it.”
However, even human-grade ivermectin, which is generally regard as safe for approving uses (worms, head lice, and skin diseases like rosacea), can induce headaches, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, and blood pressure surges.
High doses can also cause seizures, which can lead to hospitalization.
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a dubious science
What science is to say while some studies imply a lower risk of death and others suggest a lower likelihood of COVID-19 patients developing severe disease after taking ivermectin early in the infection,
the data is mixed.
Stephanie Weibel, a researcher at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany, adds, “We don’t know whether
ivermectin is useful or not in the fight against COVID-19.”
“The pool of accessible studies has a low level of trustworthiness.”
Weibel and her colleagues find in a recent assessment of 14 ivermectin studies that many trials involve
few patients or were poorly construct, leading researchers to exaggerate ivermectin’s effects.
She advocates for more rigorous clinical studies, such as the one now being conduct at the University of
Oxford in the United Kingdom.
In a February 2021 statement, Merck, an ivermectin maker, state that its own review of the scientific
literature does not support the drug’s usage against COVID-19. Supporters, on the other hand, argue that
even if ivermectin use does not deliver clear benefits, it can’t damage.
“Any risk the product might transmit is unacceptable if there isn’t evidence that it works,” says Peter Lurie,
president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and former FDA assistant commissioner.
“We have people who have become ill as a result of ivermectin, who have spent a lot of money for no
demonstrated benefit, and the issue is that ivermectin is diverting people away from things that do help,
such as vaccines, masks, and social distancing.”
In addition, ivermectin supporters who were unable to obtain prescriptions from their doctors may turn
to the animal version sold in farm supply stores, unaware of the differences.
According to Michael Teng, a health virologist at the University of South Florida, the recommend dose for
animals is substantially greater, and if people consume ivermectin at that level, they will be poison.
Some vaccine skeptics are also taking ivermectin to avoid contracting COVID-19, despite the fact that there is no good sci.