Covid-19, the illness caused by Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) is well-known to you by now.  You know that it is a new (previously unknown/unseen) virus that causes a cold/flu type illness that can develop into a severe and life-threatening pneumonia and multi-organ disease, most commonly in older, frail or already-unwell persons. You know that viral illnesses (like gastroenteritis, the common cold, flu, hepatitis, and HIV) do not respond to normal antibiotics and indeed there are no real treatments available – the care of patients with Covid-19 is largely “supportive”  since no cure is available. These sobering realities have led to world-changing lockdowns as governments seek to save lives with very few good options available to them.

The main “big hope” appears to lie in herd-immunity through mass vaccination. By vaccinating masses of people it is hoped we can achieve herd-immunity (where 60%+ of a population are immune the virus gradually dies off because it finds too-few susceptible hosts). But what if we had an effective treatment? Could Ivermectin be the wonder drug we’ve all hoped for?

Ivermectin is a medication used against parasites in both human and veterinary practice. It’s been used for decades against  lice, scabies, ascariasis, and other conditions.  Laboratory studies have shown Ivermectin to have anti-viral properties when given at higher-than-normal doses, and this has prompted research to determine if it has a role in the treatment of Covid-19. To date, research results have been mixed or disappointing. Some small studies have shown small benefits but others have shown no benefits.  There are concerns that the doses required for Covid-19 may be toxic to humans. Leading authorities do not currently recommend the widespread or routine use of Ivermectin for Covid-19, although it is sometimes used in severe cases and it’s use has become quite common in parts of the world like South America. Much of this usage is uncontrolled, which makes serious research efforts tricky. As of January 2021, some 40+ research studies are underway to determine if there is a role for Ivermectin, and what that role should be. In short, it shows some promise but early research results are inconclusive at best.

It’s worth noting that in desperate times, people take desperate measures. It seems that some people, desperate for any form of hope, have used and will use any medication that might help (however slim the hope is, or however dangerous the medication may be). As understandable as this is, it is almost certainly wiser to wait for proper research results, and follow mainstream medical advice.

Ivermectin is a well-known drug that has been used against various parasites for years. It may have a role in the treatment of Covid-19 but to date research has been inconclusive and there are some safety concerns as well. At this stage the drug may have a small role to play but it cannot be widely recommended for general use. Readers are advised to update themselves as more research results are published.