COVID-19 drug doesn't benefit patients with mild illness, study finds

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Ivermectin, a drug that is typically used to treat parasitic worms but has been used widely against COVID-19, doesn't speed recovery of patients with mild cases of the disease, a study published March 4 in JAMA found. 

Some studies have indicated the drug — used to treat parasitic worms in people and animals — can prevent some viruses from replicating cells, according to The New York Times. An Australian study last year found that high doses of the drug suppressed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in cell cultures.

Many countries around the world include ivermectin as part of national guidelines for treating COVID-19, the Times reported. But the drug has caused debate, as some scientists see its potential to treat the virus, while others say that treating COVID-19 would require extremely high, potentially unsafe levels of the drug. 

Health officials have also warned that some people may take versions of the drug that have been made for pets, the Times reported. 

Carlos Chaccour, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain, told the Times he thinks ivermectin has "become another hydroxychloroquine." 

Treatment guidelines from the National Institutes of Health say there isn't enough evidence to recommend using ivermectin in COVID-19 patients. 

In the study published March 4, either a five-day course of ivermectin or a placebo was given to more than 400 people who had recently developed mild COVID-19 symptoms. The study found symptoms lasted about 10 days on average in the ivermectin group and 12 days in those with the placebo, a statistically insignificant difference, the Times reported. 

More trials studying ivermectin's effectiveness against COVID-19 are expected, according to the Times

Read the full article here

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