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What is Ivermectin and How is it Used?
Ivermectin has become a hot topic in recent months. Encouraged by claims that it is an effective treatment for COVID-19, people are asking their doctors for prescriptions of the anti-parasitic drug and in some cases taking a version of the medication intended for animals. The reason behind this is that it has been hypothesized that ivermectin could slow or stop the novel coronavirus from replicating inside the human body.
Here at ParasiteForum.com we want to explore whether there is any basis for this claim.
Here’s what you need to know about ivermectin.
1. In 2015 William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura shared the Nobel prize for their discoveries concerning Ivermectin, a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites. And the other half to Tu Youyou for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria since she was the first person to successfully extract the active component from Artemisia annua. Tu was the first to show that this component, later called Artemisinin, was highly effective against the Malaria parasite, both in infected animals and in humans.
Avermectin, Artemisinin and global health
The discoveries of Avermectin and Artemisinin have fundamentally changed the treatment of parasitic diseases. Today the Avermectin-derivative Ivermectin is used in all parts of the world that are plagued by parasitic diseases. Ivermectin is highly effective against a range of parasites, has limited side effects and is freely available across the globe. The importance of Ivermectin for improving the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals with River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, primarily in the poorest regions of the world, is immeasurable. Treatment is so successful that these diseases are on the verge of eradication, which would be a major feat in the medical history of humankind. Malaria infects close to 200 million individuals yearly. Artemisinin is used in all Malaria-ridden parts of the world. When used in combination therapy, it is estimated to reduce mortality from Malaria by more than 20% overall and by more than 30% in children. For Africa alone, this means that more than 100 000 lives are saved each year.
The discoveries of Avermectin and Artemisinin have revolutionized therapy for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases. Campbell, Ōmura and Tu have transformed the treatment of parasitic diseases. The global impact of their discoveries and the resulting benefit to mankind are immeasurable.
2. The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220302011
3. Ivermectin is a multifaceted drug of Nobel prize-honoured distinction with indicated efficacy against a new global scourge, COVID-19 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34466270/
4. Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with certain parasitic infections including intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/050742s026lbl.pdf
5. Some topical creams and gels of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea. https://www.fda.gov/media/85271/download
6. The drug is also approved for use in animals as a de-wormer. In the farming industry, there are many forms of animal ivermectin that are approved to prevent heartworm disease and treat certain internal and external parasites in livestock. It’s important to note that many of these products have different compositions from the ones used for people.
7. Ivermectin is only 100% safe when used in accordance to the formulation for the appropriate living being, human or livestock, as prescribed.