Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication manufactured by Merck and FDA “approved for the treatment of strongyloidiasis of the intestinal tract and onchocerciasis.” It is used to treat head lice and rosacea as well, and has been used successfully to treat COVID patients in India, Argentina and South Africa, nations which benefit from the drug’s availability and low cost.
Dr. Nathi Mdladla, head of the intensive care unit at Durban’s George Mukhari Academic Hospital, told the BBC that during the early months of COVID, “People were dying and doctors were looking at many treatment options to try and save lives. Ivermectin was one of the drugs doctors repurposed.”
In April 2020, an Australian team of researchers at Melbourne’s Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute published promising lab studies.
“We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hour there was a really significant reduction in it,” Dr. Kylie Wagstaff, the leader of the study, said in a statement.
Another April 2020 study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah found that “critically ill patients with lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation may benefit from administration of Ivermectin,” ABC News reported. They reported a lower mortality rate.
ABC News wrote that “experts suggest that [ivermectin] essentially treats [COVID] like [a parasite] and blocks the viral RNA [ribonucleic acid] from invading healthy cells … giving the patient’s immune system more time to fight [the illness] off.”
The scientist who developed ivermectin more than 40 years ago was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his life-saving discovery in 2015. Pills average $5.40 a piece at U.S. pharmacies. The Pfizer “vaccine” averages $20 a dose.
If ivermectin showed such early promise in 2020, why hasn’t it been approved for emergency use? That may have something to do with a new drug Merck has been developing specifically for COVID.
In June 2021, Merck signed a $1.2 billion deal with the U.S. government for 1.7 million courses of an “investigational antiviral treatment, molnupiravir (MK-4482), for COVID-19, pending emergency use authorization.” The federal government has promised to pay Merck $705 per course of the new COVID medication which has not yet received FDA approval.
In the meantime, anecdotal responses worldwide show ivermectin to potentially be a low-cost, effective treatment worthy of greater study.