The jury is still out on the effectiveness of ivermectin in treating COVID-19, despite claims that it works or that it’s useless

Ivermectin is used to fight worms and other parasites in animals and humans. But some people are taking it to treat COVID-19, despite warnings from experts and poisonings tied to the drug. Taking ivermectin has been popular in Latin America and it is getting increasingly popular in the U.S. The drug has been highly politicized, with some people taking it as a substitute for authorized COVID-19 treatments or by people suspicious that the government and the pharmaceutical industry are pushing vaccines and drugs they perceive as more dangerous. Various claims have been widely shared on social media regarding the use of ivermectin, including this tweet shared over 1000 times:

Journalists are weirdly confident that Ivermectin is useless, despite 40 years of data saying it’s safe & 18 months of data telling us it works for C-19. They seem just as confident that the mRNA injection is safe & effective, despite 8 months of data telling us it’s neither. 

In the United States, ivermectin is approved for some uses in humans, but not to prevent or treat COVID-19. While some studies have asserted that the anti-parasite drug might work against COVID-19, researchers who have reviewed numerous ivermectin studies say there is not conclusive evidence that it is effective against the disease.   

Rutgers Professor Lewis Nelson has this to say about the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19…

It is inexplicable that anyone would use ivermectin, an unproven and potentially dangerous substance, to treat a disease that is nearly preventable with a safe and proven FDA-approved vaccine,” said Nelson, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “The old Benjamin Franklin adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be truer regarding COVID-19, and the idea that the entire medical establishment would withhold an effective therapy given the devastation the disease has unleashed on the world is not supported by any reasonable evidence.”

“Concerns over rare and generally minor adverse effects from the various COVID-19 vaccines can not be compared to developing the disease or the suffering some of the known adverse effects of the various unproven treatments that have been popularized.

A study led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute has expanded its testing platform to evaluate three repurposed medications in the search for effective, safe treatments for mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Repurposed medications are those already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for other indications. This includes the drug ivermectin.  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the following on the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19…

While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.

A recently released research article described the effect of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting. These types of laboratory studies are commonly used at an early stage of drug development. Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be appropriate to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.