UK – Researchers from the university of Oxford under the PRINCIPLE study project are currently giving Ivermectin, a widely used anti-parasitic drug, to over-50s with COVID symptoms to see if it can keep them out of hospital.
PRINCIPLE is a nationwide clinical study from the University of Oxford in collaboration with the British government trying to find COVID-19 treatments for recovery at home.
The project is currently having any willing citizen over-50s with an underlying health condition or experiencing breathlessness and have had COVID symptoms for up to 14 days to sign up for the trial phase.
Ivermectin has resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19.
At the moment, out of six other drugs in the PRINCIPLE study of COIVD treatment, only one, steroid budesonide inhaler has proved to be effective.
Another sister project, the RECOVERY trial also discovered another steroid, dexamethasone, for the treatment of COVID symptoms and has been credited with saving more than 20,000 lives in the UK.
Despite the lack of good evidence so far as well as being disapproved by the WHO and the European Union (EU), Ivermectin has been taken up by doctors and by individuals self-medicating in countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and South Africa.
In the US, provider SingleCare said 817 prescriptions had been filled for Ivermectin, which can also be used to treat skin conditions such as rosacea, in January and February 2021, compared with 92 in the same period last year.
Currently the USA has Remdesivir approved under the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as therapy against the treatment of COVID-19 with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state surpassing 30 million and continuing to grow.
A worrying spike of coronavirus infections in Europe is being driven by the delta variant, according to global health leaders, even as immunization rates in some countries are on the way up.
With the UK experiencing the spike and currently having reported more than 70,000 new infections in the last one week, the cases are set to increase in the coming weeks and a swift mitigative measure is needed to keep patients from being hospitalized.
This is because the healthcare system is already strained with hospitals are recording full bed capacity a situation that can only be solved if more home-based therapy options can be implemented.
Though there have been some early “promising” results from small and observational studies, Principle joint chief investigator Prof Richard Hobbs said it would be “premature” to recommend Ivermectin for COVID.