As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to send tremors across the medical fraternity by challenging therapeutic approaches, physicians and researchers are turning to existing drugs for answers. One such drug is Ivermectin. Now, a new review study has stated that the immediate use of the drug globally can end the SARS-CoV-2-caused pandemic.

The peer-reviewed study led by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), scrutinized published peer-reviewed studies, expert meta-analyses, manuscripts, and epidemiological studies of areas with distribution efforts of Ivermectin. It concluded that Ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19 as well as efficacious prophylaxis (preventive medication).

"We did the work that the medical authorities failed to do, we conducted the most comprehensive review of the available data on ivermectin. We applied the gold standard to qualify the data reviewed before concluding that ivermectin can end this pandemic," said Dr. Pierre Kory, president, and chief medical officer of the FLCCC, in a statement.

Effective Against Parasites and Viruses Alike

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Ivermectin was discovered in 1975 by William C. Campbell of the Merck Institute for Therapeutic research and Satoshi Ōmura of Kitasato University. Derived from Avermectin—a series of drugs used to treat ailments caused by parasitic pests and worms— Ivermectin was introduced commercially in 1981. It is widely regarded as the world's first endectocide (i.e) an anti-parasitic drug that can act on parasites found both within the body and on its surface.

After being used for veterinary purposes initially, Ivermectin saw its first human application in 1988 for the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness). Now, it is a commonly prescribed and easily available FDA-approved anti-parasitic. Ivermectin is used in the treatment of common skin and parasite-caused ailments such as scabies and infestation of lice.

It is also used against other human parasitic diseases such as trichuriasis, ascariasis, and strongyloidiasis, which are caused by parasitic worms such as whipworm and roundworm, among others. The drug has shown a strong eliminatory effect against a broad range of viruses such as HIV, Dengue, Zika, and Influenza. Through the findings of recent studies, SARS-CoV-2 also joined the list.

Strong Evidence of Efficiency

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The primary focus of the current review was on 27 controlled trials that were available in January 2021. Of these, 15 were randomized controlled trials or RCTs, which are the preferred method of trials by organizations such as the US National Institutes of Health, the European Medicines Agency, and the World Health Organization.

These studies were accordant with several meta-analyses of Ivermectin RCTs that have since been published by experts from Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK. They noted a substantial and statistically significant decrease in recovery time, viral clearance, and mortality in COVID-19 patients treated with the drug.

Evaluating the effectiveness of Ivermectin in preventing COVID-19, 5 observational controlled trials and 3 RCTs (compromising of nearly 2,500 patients) reported that the regular use of the drug considerably reduces the risk of contracting the viral disease. Taking available data from clinical, real-world, animal, and in vitro studies, the current paper (peer-reviewed by medical experts including the US government senior scientists) is the most exhaustive review on the subject.

Call for Making Ivermectin Standard Care 

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The authors highlighted that several countries across the world have recognized the role of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 and also as strong prophylaxis against it. Countries such as Czech Republic, Slovakia, South Africa, Mexico, and Zimbabwe have already approved the use of the drug for treating the disease. In fact, the Drug Controller General of India has also approved the use of the drug in India for addressing the symptoms of the disease.

According to the authors of the review, the findings indicate the distribution campaigns of Ivermectin resulted in rapid population-wide decreases in mortality and morbidity. Dr. Paul E. Marik, founding member of the FLCCC, stated, "Our latest research shows, once again, that when the totality of the evidence is examined, there is no doubt that ivermectin is highly effective as a safe prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19."

Dr. Marik also raised doubts about the reliability of several larger health authorities in carrying out "honest examination" of scientific and medical proof. "So, we are calling on regional public health authorities and medical professionals around the world to demand that Ivermectin be included in their standard of care right away so we can end this pandemic once and for all," he concluded.