Thursday, August 05, 2021

in-focus

Health Ministry warns ivermectin untested as Covid treatment


Health authorities have warned Thais not to use the drug ivermectin as protection against Covid-19. Responding to social media rumours about ivermectin’s supposed anti-viral effects, Medical Services Department chief Dr Somsak Ankasil noted the drug can be dangerous as it is designed to kill parasites in animals, not viruses in humans.

However, a trial of the drug as a possible anti-Covid medication is underway in Thailand.

Early research abroad indicates it may inhibit the coronavirus, though ivermectin is not yet among official treatments being used by Thailand, Somsak said.

A June 25 meeting on Covid-19 treatment guidelines attended by specialists at the Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease and Urological Society noted that preliminary in-vitro studies suggest ivermectin works with favipiravir to inhibit the coronavirus. However, results from clinical trials in Thailand have yet to be delivered, so it is not a standard treatment.

Use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is at the discretion of physicians because data from research is unclear and conflicting, Somsak said.

The Department of Medicine and Siriraj Hospital are currently conducting a study on ivermectin. Thousands of Covid-19 patients in the Bangkok area have been divided into two groups. One is receiving standard treatment with favipiravir and the other is taking favipiravir plus ivermectin. Results from the two groups will be compared to assess whether ivermectin is a viable treatment.

“This is for the sake of research,” warned Dr Somsak.

“Do not buy this drug for your own use, because it can be dangerous."

Published : June 30, 2021

By : The Nation