FDA-approved medication for parasitic infections may kill COVID virus, studies find

Ivermectin, which has already received FDA approval and has been used since the 1980s to treat head lice, scabies and several other infections caused by parasites, has been shown to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, according to reports published in several scientific journals on April 3.

Ivermectin is the active ingredient in many popular heartworm preventive drugs like Heartgard.

“Although several clinical trials are now underway to test possible therapies, the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely limited to monitoring/containment. We report here that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously shown to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-22) … and therefore warrants further investigation for possible benefits in humans,” says a peer-reviewed article posted on the ScienceDirect website.

“Ivermectin is widely available, due to its inclusion on the WHO model list of essential medicines,” the article states.

“Ivermectin is a drug that is non-toxic to humans, but will kill malaria-transmitting mosquitoes when the insects ingest blood that contains the drug. It is used to help decrease the spread of malaria in high-risk areas by decreasing the mosquito population and preventing others from being infected,” stated a 2017 article published with support from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s National Institutes of Health website.

“Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin can inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus the causes COVID-19, according to a study published Friday in the journal Antiviral Research,” states an April 3 article in Newsweek. “Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective—that's the next step. We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it," said the study's leader Dr. Kylie Wagstaff in a statement.

“A new study has shown that an anti-parasitic drug already available around the world can kill the virus within 48 hours. Scientists found that a single dose of the drug, Ivermectin, could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture,” says an article in Science Daily. “The next steps are to determine the correct human dosage – ensuring the doses shown to effectively treat the virus in vitro are safe for humans.”


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