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The Current State of Knowledge Regarding Ivermectin’s Effectiveness Against Covid-19

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Eric Zuesse

There has been more scientific research done on ivermectin to treat and cure the covid-19 disease than on any other chemical that has been proposed for this purpose (except for hydroxychloroquine, which is by now known to be both less safe and less effective for this purpose, though still better than nothing), and the reason for this is twofold: ivermectin is remarkably safe (which is acknowledged even by sincere scientists who demand a higher degree of effectiveness before any drug should be approved), and the more that it has been studied as a possible treatment for this disease, the higher the likelihood has become established to be that ivermectin assists in reducing or even (in some cases) curing the disease. What is indisputable is that America’s FDA grants approval to drugs against covid-19 disease which have far less evidence of safety and effectiveness against the covid-19 disease, but it refuses approval to ivermectin, which has plenty of evidence that it is safe, and even that it is effective against this disease, though less effective than a drug needs to be against what can be a deadly disease. Only corruption would explain this obvious anomaly, that the FDA still refuses this authorization for ivermectin. Clearly, for the benefit of the public, ivermectin ought to be fully authorized as a treatment for this disease. It is not a cure, but it can safely help to cure this disease. Its use for this purpose would reduce the death-rate. But the FDA’s top priority is definitely NOT to reduce diseases and deaths.

Ivermectin is a medication that, as Wikipedia says, has been approved since 1987 (35 years ago) to:

treat infestations including head lice, scabies, river blindness (onchocerciasis), strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis and lymphatic filariasis.[10][11][8][12] It works through many mechanisms to kill the targeted parasites,[10] and can be taken orally, or applied to the skin for external infestations.[10][13] It belongs to the avermectin family of medications.[10]

William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for its discovery and applications.[14] It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines,[15] and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an antiparasitic agent.[16] In 2018, it was the 420th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 100,000 prescriptions.[17] It is available as a generic medicine.[18][19]

That last statement, “It is available as a generic medicine,” means that the drug’s patent has expired, and so no monopoly-profits are any longer possible for it, and so drug companies no longer promote its use. They would therefore (for example) not donate funds to the political campaigns of politicians who endorse legalizing the availability of ivermectin to treat patients for the covid-19 disease. In this sense, that drug’s inexpensiveness becomes automatically a factor against the drug’s being approved to treat covid-19. A government driven more by profitability (benefits to investors) than by usefulness (benefits to the public) is not likely to approve new uses for such a drug — not even if that drug is actually safer and more effective than some patented new drug might be, which can be priced hundreds of times higher.

Here’s an example of how this works: on 28 June 2021, the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases published a study “Ivermectin for the Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials”, which reported that, “Compared with the standard of care or placebo, IVM [ivermectin] did not reduce all-cause mortality [deaths from all causes, including covid-19], LOS [length of hospital stay], or viral clearance in RCTs [randomized controlled trials] in patients with mostly mild COVID-19. IVM did not have an effect on AEs [adverse events] or SAEs [severe adverse events] and is not a viable option to treat patients with COVID-19.” It had analyzed 10 studies, which had included a grand total of 1,173 individual patients, almost 100% of whom had had “mild” cases of the covid-19 disease; and the dose-amounts in these treatments varied widely, such as “Single dose 400 micrograms per kilogram of body-weight,” and “Single dose 12 milligrams [12,000 micrograms] per kilogram of body-weight,” and to “300 micrograms per kilogram of body-weight, once daily, for 5 days.”

That article stated, regarding its 6 authors: “Potential conflicts of interest. All authors: No reported conflicts. All authors have submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Conflicts that the editors consider relevant to the content of the manuscript have been disclosed.” The editors didn’t disclose to the readers what those “conflicts” had been. 

However, an entire website, https://c19ivermectin.com, is devoted to meta-analyzing every peer-reviewed published scientific study that’s published regarding ivermectin’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness against covid-19 disease. That website says about the 28 June 2021 article: “Details: This is a severely flawed meta analysis. An open letter signed by 40 physicians detailing errors and flaws, and requesting retraction, can be found at trialsitenews.com. See also bird-group.org.” That note links also to several other critiques of the 28 June 2021 article, that requested the article’s retraction, such as this critique at pubpeer.com, pointing to obvious factual errors in it, including even wrong number-counts. However, that 28 June 2021 article wasn’t retracted; it remains in the ‘scientific’ literature, which propagandists against using ivermectin to treat the covid-19 disease can still cite.

As-of 17 September 2021, https://c19ivermectin.com had headlined, to summarize its then-complete survey-and-analysis on this topic, “IVERMECTIN FOR COVID-19: 63 TRIALS, 623 SCIENTISTS, 26,398 PATIENTS, 31 RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS”, and it summarized its summary by saying: “60% IMPROVEMENT IN 31 RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS” from the “Database of all ivermectin COVID-19 studies. 116 studies, 76 peer reviewed, 63 with results comparing treatment and control groups.” It linked to each one of those 116 studies (plus linked to news-commentaries about them). So, the reader can easily click through to each one of the studies (and to news-articles discussing them).

Based upon those 31 randomized controlled trials, I had headlined on 24 September 2021, “How National Propaganda Radio (NPR) Reports About Covid and Ivermectin”, and reported against that NPR ‘news’-report’s stenographic presentation of the U.S. Government’s condemnation and prohibition against using ivermectin to treat the covid-19 disease. (Subsequently, reader-comments to my article were deleted by Discuss, which has a virtual monopoly over reader-comment sections at small news-sites in America, but ultimately those reader-comments were able to be restored by the site’s editors.)

Right now, https://c19ivermectin.com is headlining “Ivermectin for COVID-19: real-time meta analysis of 78 studies: Covid Analysis, Feb 18, 2022, Version 176”, and it reports:

Statistically significant improvements are seen for mortality, ventilation, ICU admission, hospitalization, recovery, cases, and viral clearance. All remain significant after exclusions. 50 studies from 46 independent teams in 21 different countries show statistically significant improvements in isolation (38 primary outcome, 35 most serious outcome).

•Meta analysis using the most serious outcome shows 63% [53‑72%] and 83% [74‑89%] improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis, with similar results after exclusion-based sensitivity analysis, for primary outcomes, for peer-reviewed studies, and for RCTs [randomized controlled trials].

•Results are very robust — in worst case exclusion sensitivity analysis 62 of 78 studies must be excluded to avoid finding statistically significant efficacy.

•While many treatments have some level of efficacy, they do not replace vaccines and other measures to avoid infection. Only 24% of ivermectin studies show zero events in the treatment arm. Multiple treatments are typically used in combination, which may be significantly more effective.

•No treatment, vaccine, or intervention is 100% available and effective for all variants. All practical, effective, and safe means should be used. Denying the efficacy of treatments increases mortality, morbidity, collateral damage, and endemic risk.

•Over 20 countries have adopted ivermectin for COVID-19. The evidence base is much larger and has much lower conflict of interest than typically used to approve drugs.

It reports that:

27 of the 32 Early Treatment studies have shown that the ivermectin-receiving patients improved more than the non-ivermectin-receiving patients did.

25 of the 30 Late Treatment studies showed that the ivermectin-receiving patients improved more than the non-ivermectin-receiving patients did. 

16 of the 16 Prophylaxis (prevention of spreading the disease, such as protecting healthcare workers against catching the disease from their patients) studies showed that the disease spread less from the patients who were taking ivermectin than from the patients who weren’t. In 100% of studies, ivermectin-takers had spread the disease less than control-group patients did.

In 68 of the 78 studies, the results were better for (and from) the patients who were taking ivermectin than for (and from) the patients who weren’t.

The total number of patients studied, as-of 18 February 2022, were 85,767 (as opposed to the earlier 26,398), and the added 60,369 patients were producing a 64% success-rate with ivermectin (as compared to the prior 60%). So: as would be expected to be the case for an effective medication, increased experience with the drug were increasing the success-rate of its application.

However, there is a stark contrast between that meta-analysis and another one, which was done by a professional organization whose report is vaguer and less clear in virtually every way:

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) has published “IDSA Guidelines on the Treatment and Management of Patients with COVID-19” Updated on 16 February 2022, and its section that’s devoted to “Recommendations 24-25: Ivermectin” states:

Recommendation 24: In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the IDSA panel suggests against ivermectin outside of the context of a clinical trial. (Conditional recommendation, very low certainty of evidence)

Recommendation 25: In ambulatory persons with COVID-19, the IDSA panel suggests against ivermectin outside of the context of a clinical trial. (Conditional recommendation, very low certainty of evidence)

That meta-analysis — unlike the one at https://c19ivermectin.com, fails to link to the studies that it discusses, and is altogether inferior in its presentation (far more difficult to verify or disconfirm), as well as being less comprehensive and less persuasive in virtually every other respect. Moreover, its claim of “very low certainty of evidence” on the matter, is not documented, at all, against the very specific precise numerical odds that are calculated, and presented, at https://c19ivermectin.com, which show the exact opposite: stunningly high-probabilities, statistically very clear findings. Furthermore, even the IDSA report isn’t arguing that ivermectin’s dangers to covid-19 patients outweigh its benefits to those patients, and so the extreme safety of this drug (ivermectin) is going essentially unchallenged, even by presenters who are trying to persuade their readers that there’s a “very low certainty of evidence” regarding ivermectin’s impact upon covid-19 disease.

Given the extremely low cost of such an amazingly promising and demonstrably successful medication against the covid-19 disease, can there be any reasonable doubt that governments ought to be encouraging, instead of blocking, its use (at least until something better is discovered and proven to treat against the covid-19 disease)?

However, because Merck’s Molnupiravir proposed anti-covid-19 drug, and Pfizer’s Paxlovid proposed anti-covid-19 drug, stand ready to make many billions of dollars for investors, and ivermectin can’t do that, the U.S. Government and other governments that represent their billionaires instead of their public, are blocking approval of ivermectin for treating covid-19, even if ivermectin is far safer, and might be even more effective against covid-19, than either of those new drugs would be. That’s why America’s FDA warns “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19”, and says “There’s a lot of misinformation around” ivermectin, as a treatment-option on covid-19 (yes, and some of this “misinformation” is coming from themselves).

According to GoodRx’s “Paxlovid vs. Molnupiravir for COVID-19”, “Studies suggest that Paxlovid can lower the risk of severe COVID-19 for high-risk people by almost 90%. Studies suggest Molnupiravir can lower this risk by about 30% [see p. 16 there].” If those expectations become borne out, then Paxlovid will probably be lots more effective against covid-19 than even ivermectin is. However, if Paxlovid will be priced so high as to be unaffordable in most countries, then the delays in approving ivermectin will probably ultimately end in many countries; and, at that point, all of the millions of people who could have been saved by ivermectin from dying from covid-19 would then have been viciously simply wasted, killed, by the governments that are (as is so obvious in this case) placing investors’ interests above the public’s interests. And maybe some people will notice this, even if the ‘news’-media likely won’t.

Other promising (but less-studied) non-patentable anti-covid-19 treatments include melatonin, and quercetin.

Whereas a society which is being driven more by profitability than by usefulness is not likely to approve new uses for such a drug as ivermectin (or for non-drug nutrients), the present moment could turn out to be a terrific time to buy Pfizer drug stock. Only people who are looking in their rear-view mirrors will know for sure whether this will turn out to have been the case. But that’s not the major concern of the general public, even if they might happen to vote (in political elections) as-if it were (because those had been the candidates whom the sickness-industries and ‘news’-media had been propagandizing for).

In a ‘democracy’, the candidates of investors win almost all the time — especially investors in sickness, war, ‘news’-media, and extraction-industries such as mining and fossil-fuels. It’s the new type of aristocracy, which rose up and, in America, has (after the 1945 end of WW II) come to replace what had been Britain’s aristocracy in 1776 (America’s aristocrats, instead of Britain’s, ruling here).

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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G2mil
February 21, 2022

Thank you for this detailed and important article. Critics state Ivermectin had not been proven safe and effective against COVID. They do not mention that it has been proven very safe when taken for other reasons and there is no reason to suspect it would be unsafe if taken by someone with COVID. They also don’t mention that while use of Ivermectin has been discussed for two years since COVID arose, the FDA just recently began doing a study to determine if it is safe and effective after Congressional pressure.

Helga Fellay
Helga Fellay
Reply to  G2mil
February 22, 2022

There is an overabundance of (suppressed) evidence that this virus is part of a genocidal agenda. But even if all this body of evidence did not exist, the mere fact that Ivermectin, the cheap effective remedy without side effects, has become a banned product in the US and probably beyond would be all the proof anyone would really need that this pan-demonic is agenda driven. The bank account of one reader, who attempted to order Ivermectin from abroad, was frozen or cancelled so she was unable to obtain it. This alone also shows how united the powerful are in this… Read more »

Sara
Sara
February 22, 2022
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