Thursday, June 24, 2021

Literatus: The Ivermectin debate


Sometimes, I come to think that the debate over permitting Filipinos to use Ivermectin as treatment or prophylaxis (preventive medication) against Sars-CoV-2 may not be over safety at all but over self-interested profits from vaccine sales or whatever.

The issue of safety appears to be bloated unnecessarily. Logic can dissect these rationales easily.

First, Ivermectin is obviously safe even as used against parasitic infection and Bfad surely allowed its distribution in the Philippines. If prescribed within the recommended dose for anti-parasitic administration, then doing so in patients with Covid-19 will also be safe. These are the same human beings who will be receiving this medication.

Second, evidently, safety studies on Ivermectin are longer than the safety studies of any Covid-19 vaccines available today. It was approved for commercial distribution in 1981, which was 40 years ago. That means that Ivermectin has 40 years of safety studies behind it. Covid-19 vaccines available today have less than two years in safety studies. In fact, Bfad are not yet able to validate these foreign safety studies for Filipino patients. So, which is safer between these two?

If safety studies must be conducted formally, let the physicians do so while prescribing Ivermectin to their patients who are either positive of Covid-19 or negative for prophylactic purposes. Physicians are trained to conduct these clinical trials in their clinics or hospitals.

Now, here is an efficacy fact: Sabeena Ahmed and colleagues from the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh found that a safe dose of 12 mg of Ivermectin, taken once daily for five days had reduced the clearance of Sars-CoV-2 in patients with mild Covid-19 infections. These patients had the clinical symptoms of fever, cough, and sore throat. Their blood cleared from Sars-CoV-2 viruses three days earlier than those who did not take Ivermectin.

In vitro studies observed the ability of Ivermectin in destroying single-strand RNA viruses, which Sars-CoV-2 is.

If safety is an issue, then Ivermectin is relatively safer than Covid-19 vaccines. If efficacy is an issue, then it is as reasonable to explore non-vaccine options if the chance of higher efficacy is better, especially as an active treatment against Covid-19, which vaccination cannot deliver.


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