Ivermectin is not shown to be effective against Covid-19 in clinical trials according to the findings of a joint University of Oxford and Mahidol University study.
The study that was published on the peer-reviewed eLife medical journal found that high doses of the drug ivermectin, controversially recommended by some high-profile political and media figures during the pandemic, is ineffective at treating the virus.
Conducted at the Center for Tropical Diseases in Bangkok, the study is part of the ongoing PLATCOV trial the study hoped to assess the antiviral effectiveness of medicines in treating early symptomatic Covid-19 infections.
The findings support claims that the drug has little antiviral activity against the virus.
“Our study shows there is no support for the continued use of ivermectin in treating Covid-19,” said senior author and PLATCOV co-PI Prof Sir Nicholas White who is a Professor of Tropical Medicine at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) at Mahidol University and the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (CTMGH) at the Nuffield Department of Medicine in the University of Oxford, UK.
“Even now, three years after the start of the pandemic, it remains uncertain whether any of the proposed repurposed antiviral treatments are effective at fighting Covid-19, highlighting the limitations of the tools currently used to assess these drugs,” co-lead author Dr William Schilling, a Research Physician at MORU and CTMGH.
To quantify the effectiveness of ivermectin against Covid-19, the team used the PLATCOV trial to compare the rates at which different drugs reduced the viral load from patients.
In patients treated with ivermectin, the average estimated rate of Covid-19 viral clearance was 9.1 per cent slower than in those treated with the non-study drugs.
Those treated with casirivimab/imdevimab had a viral clearance rate that was 52.3 per cent faster than in those treated with the non-study drugs, consistent with the proven clinical benefit of this medicine against susceptible viruses.
These results suggest that ivermectin does not have measurable antiviral activity in early symptomatic Covid-19, the study said.