MAJ recommends Ivermectin to help with COVID fightFriday, February 26, 2021
The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) yesterday urged the Government to authorise the use of Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug used to treat several neglected tropical diseases, in an effort to reduce hospitalisations caused by COVID-19.
According to MAJ President Dr Andrew Manning, the recommendation was being made because Jamaica now finds itself at a crisis point in the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The numbers of hospital admissions and deaths are increasing. We are currently awaiting the arrival and deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine. Our hospitals are close to full capacity,” Dr Manning said in a news release.
He said with the current situation the MAJ is recommending that “any and all scientifically sound and safe measures be employed to reduce the spread of, as well as to treat COVID-19”.
“The MAJ therefore believes the Government should authorise the use of Ivermectin at the discretion of qualified physicians or prophylaxis and early therapy, to reduce hospitalisation, severe disease and death. An urgent move must be made to import supplies into the country,” Dr Manning said.
He said Ivermectin has been safely used for decades in the effective treatment of certain parasites in humans. “Potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties have now been demonstrated against SARS CoV-2. A significant body of peer-reviewed evidence has now emerged pointing to the fact that Ivermectin may decrease the case count and mortality rates when used as a prophylactic agent, and when used in the treatment of all stages of COVID-19. The safety profile of this drug is well demonstrated after 40 years of clinical use,” the MAJ president said.
He pointed out that prophylactic use of Ivermectin will not confer immunity, and as such the MAJ is still encouraging the wearing of masks, use of hand sanitisers, and the observance of social distance when in public spaces.
“We are also recommending that persons get vaccinated when the COVID-19 vaccines become available,” the MAJ president said.
Information posted on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website notes that Ivermectin is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Under the heading 'Proposed mechanism of action and rationale for use in patients with COVID-19' the NIH said: “Reports from in vitro studies suggest that Ivermectin acts by inhibiting the host importin alpha/beta-1 nuclear transport proteins, which are part of a key intracellular transport process that viruses hijack to enhance infection by suppressing the host's antiviral response.
“In addition, Ivermectin docking may interfere with the attachment of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein to the human cell membrane.”
The NIH said further that, while Ivermectin is thought to be a host-directed agent, which may be the basis for its broad-spectrum activity in vitro against the viruses that cause dengue, Zika, HIV, and yellow fever, no clinical trials have reported a clinical benefit for the drug in patients with these viruses.
“Some studies of Ivermectin have also reported potential anti-inflammatory properties, which have been postulated to be beneficial in people with COVID-19,” the NIH said.
However, the agency said: “There are insufficient data for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend either for or against the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.”
It added: “Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.”
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