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Ivermectin by the book

⋅ Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States to treat tropical diseases and scabies. It is not FDA-approved for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19, but the agency has given special “compassionate use” permits to several hospitals to use it in that context.

⋅ Ivermectin has been shown to inhibit the replication of the virus that causes Covid-19 in cell cultures but the US National Institutes of Health said there was a lack of information on its use for treatment of Covid-19 and that the results of proper trials were needed to allow proper guidance to be given.

⋅ The European Medicines Agency said in March it had reviewed the latest evidence on the use of Ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and found the available research did not support its use outside clinical trials.

⋅ The state government of Goa in India said it planned to give Ivermectin tablets as a preventive treatment against Covid-19 to everyone over the age of 18. Starting this week, people will be given 12 milligrams of the drug for five days to try to cut the number of deaths from the disease.

⋅ Czechia and Slovakia have also allowed the temporary use of the medicine for Covid-19.

⋅ The World Health Organisation said last month: “The current evidence on the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients is inconclusive. Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials.”

⋅ The World Health Organisation said an independent, international panel of experts reviewed pooled information from 16 randomised controlled trials, including inpatients and outpatients, with Covid-19. They found that the evidence on whether Ivermectin was effective was “very low certainty” due to the small sizes and methodological limitations of available trial information.

⋅ A larger international trial by researchers from McMaster University in Canada is under way.

Wesley Miller

⋅ Hospital patients in Bermuda can sign a waiver if they want the drug. Wesley Miller, Bermuda Hospitals Board’s chief of staff, said last month: “We have a mechanism whereby if it is prescribed and there is full disclosure and the patient is willing to sign a waiver – which clearly outlines all the known risks – then under those circumstances, they can have it. So there is not a complete ban but there is a strict warning and I cannot emphasise enough that it is not a wonder drug for Covid, it is not curative and … none of the recognised bodies recommend it at this time.”

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