In a trial of almost 1,400 COVID-19 patients, those receiving the antiparasitic drug ivermectin did not perform better than those receiving placebo. Wall Street Journal reported March 18.
It is the largest trial to date that has evaluated the drug’s effect on coronavirus. The results are awaiting publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal and are set to be presented on March 18 at a forum sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Edward Mills, PhD, one of the study’s lead researchers, told Journal.
“There was no indication that ivermectin was clinically useful,” said Dr. Mills. He is Professor of Health Sciences at Canada’s McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
The research involved 1,348 adults in Brazil who tested positive for COVID-19 and all were at risk of developing a serious case. Half of the patients were prescribed a course of ivermectin pills for three days, and the other half were given placebo. Dr. Mills and team examined whether patients on ivermectin were less likely to require hospitalization, whether they removed the virus more quickly, whether their symptoms disappeared more quickly, whether they were in the hospital or on respirators for a shorter time, and whether there was a difference. in death rates between the cohorts.
The results showed that ivermectin did not improve patient outcomes for any of these factors.
“This is the first major, prospective study that really should help bring ivermectin to rest and give no credibility to its use for COVID-19,” said Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which reviewed the results, told Journal.
Ivermectin is used primarily to treat patients with certain parasitic diseases and is not approved to treat any viral infections. The FDA has warned large doses of the drug are dangerous.