The antiparasitic drug ivermectin does not reduce the time required for recovery from covid, according to a major study posted online on Sunday. It is The largest of several clinical trials that show that the drug, popular since the first epidemic as an alternative treatment, is not effective against the virus.
The new trial, conducted by researchers at Duke University and Vanderbilt University, tested more than 1,500 people with covid, about half of whom received drugs and others who received placebo. The study has not yet been published in a scientific journal.
Dr Adrian Hernandez, executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, said: “In light of these findings, Ivermectin does not appear to have a role outside the clinical trial setting, especially considering other available options, including hospitalization and proven reduction in mortality.” He led the trial in a statement on Sunday night.
In 2020, laboratory tests on cells suggested that ivermectin could block coronaviruses. The results caused a great deal of controversy because ivermectin is a cheap drug that has been used safely for decades against parasitic worm infections in humans.
Despite the lack of results in large randomized clinical trials, the drug has become widely popular. When these studies are completed, they prove to be frustrating. In March, researchers published a study in which 679 people diagnosed with covid took ivermectin. The drug did not significantly reduce their risk of going to the hospital for covid compared to people taking placebo.
The new study of ivermectin was part of a larger effort by the National Institutes of Health to identify existing drugs that could help treat covid. Accelerated COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccine-6, or ACTIV-6 for short, the program is also testing an antidepressant and anti-asthma drug.
Dr. Hernandez and his colleagues administered ivermectin to 877 volunteers who were diagnosed with covid, while another 774 received placebo. The researchers then observed how their case had progressed.
People with ivermectin did not recover significantly faster than those who took placebo. What’s more, a similar fraction of both groups ended up in the hospital. One person was found dead during the trial – a volunteer who received ivermectin.
About half of the volunteers were vaccinated, the researchers said. Their shots can reduce the overall number of serious cove cases, making it difficult to identify an advantage.
Despite the negative results, the researchers did not rule out the possibility of ivermectin having a place in the treatment of covid. Of the 90 people who were already suffering from severe covid when entering the trial, those who tried ivermectin were better than those in placebo. But because of the small number, it is impossible to reach a definitive statistical conclusion about the benefits of ivermectin. Impact may be the result of opportunity.
To further investigate that result, researchers will continue to test for high levels of ivermectin. A new set of volunteers will receive 50 percent more medication at each dose and for six days instead of three.
“Given the favorable safety profile and continued public interest in ivermectin, the ACTIV-6 team will continue this high-level study to determine if it will make a significant difference to the treatment considered for mild to moderate covid-19. ”Dr. Susanna Nagy, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University, said in a statement.