Can Ivermectin Be Used to Treat COVID-19?

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Playing Is This the New COVID-19 Wonder Drug?

Could the drug ivermectin, which has been around for 40 years and is used to treat head lice, also treat COVID-19?

The Doctors welcome pulmonary specialist Dr. Pierre Kory, who is a proponent of ivermectin, and critical care specialist Dr. Ebony Hilton, who is critical of using the drug, to discuss. 

The drug is an antiparasitic and antiviral medication, which is why it has gained attention for the possible use for COVID, but have there been enough studies on the drug to use against the virus?

Dr. Kory believes the data around the benefits of using ivermectin is "overwhelming" and he cites a study in Australia that allegedly eradicated the virus in a cell culture model. Dr. Kory contends there are thousands of patients who have taken part in randomized controlled trials using the drug and he says transmission rates, hospitalization rates, and death rates are reduced with the use of ivermectin. Dr. Kory also says the drug can help to prevent someone from getting the virus.

Dr. Hilton says there need to be more tests on the drug that are randomized, double-blind and use treatment and control groups in order to fully understand any possible benefits as a COVID treatment. She also notes the drug's effects on people with preexisting conditions also need to be studied. Dr. Hilton notes at the start of the pandemic the drug hydroxychloroquine was touted, but then when a double-blind study was conducted on hydroxychloroquine, there were no benefits found and mortality rates increased

Dr. Hilton acknowledges there have been trials done on the drug, but she notes, so far, women, people with renal diseases, and cirrhosis of the liver were excluded from the studies, but Dr. Kory says the drug has been used billions of times safely.  

The Doctors note according to the FDA, "There are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source." 

Also, drugmaker Merck has warned against using the drug to treat COVID. The company said in a statement, "It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified: No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and; A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies."

Watch: Has Ivermectin Been Studied Enough to Use in the COVID-19 Fight?

Watch: Is Drug Meant to Treat COVID-19 Really Safe for Everyone?

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