A recent pre-print review based on peer-reviewed studies has found that using antiparasitic drug ivermectin could lead to “large reductions” in COVID-19 deaths and its use could have a “significant impact” on the pandemic globally.
For the study (pdf), published on June 17 in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a group of scientists reviewed the clinical trial use of ivermectin, which has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, in 24 randomized controlled trials involving just over 3,400 participants. The researchers sought to assess the efficacy of ivermectin in reducing infection or mortality in people with COVID-19 or at high risk of getting it.
Using multiple methods of sequential analysis, the researchers concluded with a moderate level of confidence that the drug reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients by an average of 62 percent, at a 95 percent confidence interval of 0.19-0.79, in a sample of 2438 patients.
Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the risk of death was found to be 2.3 percent among those treated with the drug, compared to 7.8 percent for those who were not, according to the review.
“Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease,” the authors wrote.
Since the start of the pandemic, both observational and randomized studies have evaluated ivermectin as a treatment for, and as prevention against, COVID-19 infection.
“A review by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance summarized findings from 27 studies on the effects of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection, concluding that ivermectin ‘demonstrates a strong signal of therapeutic efficacy’ against COVID-19” the researchers wrote, referring to one recent review, which was based on data from both peer-reviewed studies and preprint manuscripts.