- Researchers from India suggest that a drug could prevent infection with the new coronavirus after testing the drug on healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 patients.
- The drug is called ivermectin, and it appeared in previous research that showed it was effective against coronavirus in lab tests.
- Ivermectin may reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, but a number of limitations may affect the conclusions, researchers say. More studies are needed to show that drugs can prevent or delay infection.
Dr. Anthony Fauci explained a few days ago that the main goal of the first generation of coronavirus vaccines was not to prevent infection but to prevent serious illness. If they stop the infection, that would be a better result. But doctors want to prevent serious illness and save lives with the help of these drugs.
It is impossible to say in advance whether the vaccine will work or not, although all of the pioneers have shown great promise in the lab trials and earlier clinical trials phases. The scientific community does not place it all on vaccine success, and there is a lot of research looking at potential COVID-19 treatments, as well as drugs that may reduce the risk of infection. Scientists from the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) -Bhubaneswar think they have a drug that can reduce the risk of infection and it’s a substance we’ve heard of before.
The researchers performed in vitro tests using ivermectin and found the drug to be effective in blocking SARS-CoV-2. They published their findings in early April, indicating that research on actual patients will be required to determine whether the drug is actually effective. Ivermectin has been a worldwide approved drug and can treat various ailments caused by all types of pathogens, including lice, scabies, and various worms. The drug has been used in other infectious diseases, including HIV, dengue fever and Zika.
AIIMS-Bhubaneshwar researchers performed a study from September 20 to October 19 and concluded that two prophylactic doses of ivermectin resulted in a 73% reduction in COVID-19 infections in one study. Help poses a few questions.
Doctors selected 372 health workers for the study, half of which were positive for COVID-19. They divided patients into different groups, each taking different prophylaxis including single dose ivermectin (77 negative and 38 positive); vitamin C (38 yin and 29 yang); ivermectin double dose three days apart (94 participants, but 26 did not adhere to the two-dose regimen); and hydroxychloroquine (12 negative and 6 positive). It is not clear why hydroxychloroquine was included, a drug that various studies so far show are ineffective in preventing or treating COVID-19.
The scientists concluded that ivermectin may reduce the risk of transmission, while vitamin C and hydroxychloroquine have no effect. “Before that, at least 20 to 25 [healthcare workers] get the virus every day, ”said AIIMS Director Gitanjali Batmanabane. “After workers started taking ivermectin, the number of infections dropped to one or two a day.” But the researchers say that one dose of ivermectin did not reduce the incidence of infection.
The results seem promising at first glance, but there are still some questions left. This was not a placebo-controlled randomized double-blind study, the standard of clinical trials, but an observational study. A randomized trial that will compare ivermectin with standard care could better determine whether the drug has a true prophylactic effect and whether it is effective in COVID-19 therapy. After all, some of the patients who received the drug in this trial were infected with coronavirus. The study has not been reviewed yet and it is available in pre-printed form at this link.