Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug that could cure the coronavirus, according to a new study. Specifically, researchers from Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University in Australia found that ivermectin is capable of killing the novel coronavirus in a laboratory setting within 48 hours. The study was published in Antiviral Research, a medical journal.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug that has been approved by the FDA. It’s been used for a number of treatments since the 1980s, including treatments for intestinal infections, lice, scabies, and river blindness.
To be clear, ivermectin has not been approved for human use against COVID-19. Numerous tests and clinical trials still need to be done, in order for scientists to see if the drug can kill coronavirus within infected humans, and what the correct dosage for a human infected with COVID-19 might be.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ivermectin’s Side Effects Depend on the Condition Being Treated
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ivermectin’s side effects depend upon what the medication is aiming to treat, specifically.
For example, if a person is ingesting a dosage of ivermectin as an antidote for “river blindness,” the most common side effects are:
- Fever, itching or skin rash
- joint or muscle pain
- painful and tender glands in neck, armpits, or groin
- rapid heartbeat
Similarly, if a person is ingesting ivermectin as an antidote for treatment of strongyloidiasis, the most common symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
- shaking or trembling
Because ivermectin’s connection to coronavirus is only being studied at a preliminary stage, the side effects of ingesting ivermectin while infected with coronavirus aren’t yet clear.
A report by Healthline (which was medically review by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on April 12, 2018, and written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group) offers the following side effects for ingesting an oral tablet of ivermectin to treat an intestinal infection:
- loss of energy
- stomach pain
- loss of appetite
- sleepiness or drowsiness
Healthline also suggests that certain groups of people might have bad reactions to ivermectin, based off of other health conditions. These conditions include: people with asthma, people who have seizures, people with HIV, and people with liver problems.
Dr. Kylie Wagstaff, one of the scientists leading the study at Monash University, told Newsweek that ivermectin has proven to be a promising drug in the fight against coronavirus, but there’s more research to be done.
“Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective—that’s the next step,” Dr. Wagstaff said. “We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it.”