The anti-parasitic drug ivermectin showed no sign of helping alleviate the effects of Covid in a large clinical study, The New York Times reports.
The study compared more than 1,300 people infected with Covid in Brazil that received ivermectin or a placebo. The study found no evidence that ivermectin does anything to reduce Covid symptoms or the risk of hospitalization.
“There’s really no sign of any benefit,” said Dr. David Boulware, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota.
There has been little evidence that the drug could be effective against Covid but it surged in popularity over the past year, being promoted by conservatives and prominent media figures like Joe Rogan.
“Now that people can dive into the details and the data, hopefully that will steer the majority of doctors away from ivermectin towards other therapies,” Boulware said.
The interest in ivermectin came after Andrew Hill, a virologist at the University of Liverpool in the UK, reviewed 23 trials and concluded that ivermectin reduced the risk of death from Covid. If larger trials confirmed the findings, Hill said, “this really is going to be a transformative treatment.”
Some people rushed to get ivermectin but reports soon surfaced that studies Hill included in his review were flawed and, in at least one case, fraudulent.
Hill retracted his original study and started a new one that found no benefit.
Hill praises new study:
Hill praised the large study released on Wednesday.
“They have run a high-quality, placebo-controlled trial,” he told the Times, adding that the New England Journal of Medicine should have published the results even sooner. “I don’t understand the delay with this trial from NEJM.”
Hill said he ran his analysis using the new data, which included information on more than 5,000 people, and again found no benefit from ivermectin.
Other trials are still looking at ivermectin.
“I welcome the results of the other clinical trials and will view them with an open mind, but at some point it will become a waste of resources to continue studying an unpromising approach,” Dr. Paul Sax, an infectious-disease expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told the Times.