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OCTOBER , 2021 | THE HEALTH
HAVING been discovered in the late 1970s , Ivermectin is hardly a new drug . It was originally used as a veterinary drug to treat parasitic infections in livestock and pets .
Its use in humans is also approved for the treatment of parasitic diseases , such as intestinal worm and head lice infestations . Its role as an antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2 , which is the viral causative agent of Covid-19 , is controversial at best .
Interest in Ivermectin as a potential treatment for Covid-19 was born out of mankind ’ s desperation to seek a cure for Covid-19 and fueled by apparently promising laboratory studies rather than clinical trials involving humans . However , it should be pointed out that the Ivermectin dose which succeeded in suppressing viral replication in laboratory experiments is high and not achievable with standard ( and safe ) human Ivermectin dosing regimens .
Since the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic , many would recall that Ivermectin is not the first antiparasitic agent to be pitted against SARS-CoV-2 . Not too long ago , Hydroxychloroquine , which is an antiparasitic drug for malaria , was cast into the spotlight following an apparent endorsement by a certain high-profile politician . However , the World Health Organisation ( WHO ) has since officially stated that Hydroxychloroquine is not recommended to either treat or prevent Covid-19 .
Being also a veterinary drug , Ivermectin is available in several strengths or doses . Common sense tells us that the dosage used in horses or cows would be higher than that used in humans , for the simple reason that a horse or cow has a much larger body mass .
An alarming trend has emerged overseas , where due to inherent difficulties in obtaining a doctor ’ s prescription for ivermectin for human use , many have resorted to consuming Ivermectin meant to treat animals ( which is more easily sourced ), potentially exposing them to the perils of drug overdose-related toxicity . In humans , Ivermectin overdose has a wide range of symptoms , such as nausea , vomiting , diarrhoea , hypotension ( low blood pressure ), allergic reactions , dizziness , imbalance , seizures , coma and even death .
A particularly perplexing observation which has surfaced of late is the higher trust in Ivermectin amongst individuals who are skeptical of Covid-19 vaccination ( a . k . a . anti-vaxxers ). Thus , one stratagem to reduce vaccine hesitancy ( and increase
Not a miracle drug
Ivermectin should not be regarded as a wonder drug against Covid-19 under any circumstance for now
BY ASSOC PROF DR DING CHUAN HUN
AND ASSOC PROF DR TAN TOH LEONG vaccine uptake as a direct result ) would be to effectively dispel myths surrounding Ivermectin . At the time of writing , neither the WHO nor our Ministry of Health ( MoH ) has issued any recommendation in favour of using Ivermectin either as a treatment or prevention of Covid-19 .
Clear guidelines needed
Also , although numerous clinical trials involving human subjects to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin as a Covid- 19 drug are ongoing globally , preliminary results have not been promising . It is crucial for the public to know that even
In humans , Ivermectin overdose has a wide range of symptoms , such as nausea , vomiting , diarrhoea , hypotension ( low blood pressure ), allergic reactions , dizziness , imbalance , seizures , coma and even death .” although there were initial positive reports that Ivermectin had a role in treating Covid-19 , those trials were not conducted in adherence to good science . At least one such study that reported benefits has since been withdrawn in the wake of complaints regarding plagiarism and data falsification .
In summary , until clear guidelines dictating Ivermectin usage for Covid-19 are released by our MoH , the antiparasitic drug should remain as it is – a drug to treat worms and lice . Ivermectin should not be regarded as a miracle drug against Covid-19 under any circumstance for now and the general public should refrain from stockpiling this drug for the misguided purpose of self-medication in the event of a Covid-19 infection .
The best treatment for Covid-19 still lies in vaccination prevention . — The Health
Assoc Prof Dr Ding Chuan Hun is Clinical Microbiologist , Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology , Faculty of Medicine , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ) and Committee Member of Malaysian Sepsis Alliance ( MySepsis ) while Assoc Prof Dr Tan Toh Leong is Senior Lecturer and Emergency Medical Consultant , UKM Medical Center , UKM and President and Founder of MySepsis .
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