The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that ivermectin – touted by some on social media as a Covid-19 “miracle cure” – should not be used to treat coronavirus patients.
In response to the whirlwind of claims surrounding the cheap antiparasitic drug, the WHO has released guidelines stating that ivermectin should only be used on Covid-19 patients in clinical trials.
The United Nations health agency said there was “very low certainty of evidence” on the effects of ivermectin on mortality, hospitalization and clearing of the virus from the body.
Facebook posts and articles endorsing ivermectin have proliferated in Brazil, France, South Africa and South Korea as governments around the world grapple with vaccination programs.
The pandemic has caused an increase in demand for this drug, especially in Latin America.
But in an update to its guidelines on Covid-19 therapeutics, the WHO said: “We recommend not to use ivermectin in patients with Covid-19, except in a clinical trial. .
“This recommendation applies to patients with any severity of disease and any duration of symptoms.”
– “Ongoing concerns” –
WHO has reviewed studies comparing ivermectin with placebo and other drugs in 16 randomized controlled trials involving 2,400 patients.
“We currently lack convincing evidence for a mechanism of action of ivermectin in Covid-19, and any observed clinical benefit would be unexplained,” he said.
The drug has long been used to treat parasites such as head lice and river blindness in sub-Saharan Africa.
The WHO recommendation was triggered by “increased international attention” on ivermectin as a potential treatment for Covid-19.
But the guidelines said: “The effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, length of hospital stay, and viral clearance remain uncertain due to the very low certainty of the evidence regarding. each of these results. “
WHO experts stressed that the guidelines were not rigid and could be updated over time if new evidence came to light.
But for now, “the low cost and wide availability do not justify, in the opinion of the group, the use of a drug for which the benefits remain very uncertain and the lingering concerns about the harms remain.”
– WHO fights against “ unproven therapies ” –
Ivermectin is one of a series of drugs tested as a potential treatment for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Much like hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug – so far unproven in clinical trials – ivermectin is widely available and relatively inexpensive.
The recommendation is likely to cause fury and skepticism among social media drug champions.
Often, the rhetoric that goes around social media for ivermectin is the same as for hydroxychloroquine: that the authorities deliberately ignore it because it is not profitable for the pharmaceutical industry.
However, its claimed benefits in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic have not been proven in major clinical trials.
WHO Clinical Management Officer Janet Diaz told reporters: “We have fought this overuse of unproven therapies, especially some of the drugs being reused in various parts of the world with no evidence of efficacy.
“So it’s always worrying because there can be more harm than good.”
Additionally, “it can starve conditions that should be treated with these drugs.”
– Diversion –
Proponents of ivermectin, like those of hydroxychloroquine, often claim that it is already widely used – even for entirely different purposes – so its use for Covid-19 is nothing to worry about.
However, Bram Rochwerg, chairman of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG) methods behind the WHO recommendation, told reporters that while ivermectin was a “relatively safe drug,” the dosing regimens used to other diseases were not comparable.
“The other potential for harm … was a diversion of attention and resources from supportive care that we know works for Covid patients,” he added.
Without evidence of effectiveness, the GDG considered that “these other factors outweighed any potential for uncertain benefit”.
Last week, the EU medicines regulator also advised against using ivermectin for the coronavirus outside of clinical trials.
The United States Food and Drug Administration’s Frequently Asked Questions page about Covid-19 says bluntly “no.” in response to “Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat Covid-19?”.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by UK Time News staff and is posted Platforms.)