The great debate of the COVID-19 pandemic has finally been answered. A local Malaysian study puts to rest the question of whether or not the antiparasitic drug, ivermectin, can cure or treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. It turns out that, no, it does not make a difference.
The Ivermectin study, called I-TECH, was conducted by the Institute for Clinical Research (ICR) on 500 patients infected with categories 2 and 3 of COVID-19. There were two groups: one which received regular standard of care (SOC group), while another received a five-day course of Ivermectin in addition to the regular treatment (IVM group).
The findings showed that both the IVM and SOC groups had similar rates of progression to severe COVID-19 stages at 21.2% and 17.3% respectively, a difference of only 1.29%. The mean time for the disease to progress in the IVM group was 3.0 days while it was 2.9 days for the SOC group, a negligible difference.
Dr. Steven Lim Chee Loon, Principal Investigator of the I-TECH study, concluded that there were no significant differences found in terms of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, symptom recovery, blood parameters, and chest x-ray resolution in both groups. In fact, the group that was treated with Ivermectin showed three times more adverse events, with diarrhea being one of the effects.
The team behind the I-Tech study plans to submit the data to a peer-reviewed journal for further analysis. Similar to other large studies such as IVERCOR-COVID19 from Argentina and TOGETHER from Brazil, the Ministry of Health concludes from the study that Ivermectin cannot be recommended for use in clinical practice to treat COVID-19.