This is the largest trial to show that those who received ivermectin as a treatment didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo.
Ivermectin has received a lot of attention as a potential treatment for Covid-19 including from celebrities such as podcast host Joe Rogan. Most evidence has shown it to be ineffective against Covid-19 or has relied on data of poor quality, infectious-disease researchers said. Public-health authorities and researchers have for months said the drug hasn’t shown any benefit in treating the disease. Taking large doses of the drug is dangerous, the Food and Drug Administration has said.
The latest trial, of nearly 1,400 Covid-19 patients at risk of severe disease, is the largest to show that those who received ivermectin as a treatment didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo.
“There was NO indication that ivermectin is clinically useful,” said Edward Mills, one of the study’s lead researchers and a professor of health sciences at Canada’s McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Dr. Mills on Friday plans to present the findings, which have been accepted for publication in a major peer-reviewed medical journal, at a public forum sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
“This is the first large, prospective study that should really help put to rest ivermectin and not give any credibility to the use of it for Covid-19,” said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who reviewed the findings.
Dr. Mills and his colleagues looked at 1,358 adults who visited one of 12 clinics in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil with Covid-19 symptoms. The patients all had a positive rapid test for SARS-CoV-2, and were at risk of having a severe case for reasons including a history of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease or lung disease.
The researchers prescribed half of the patients a course of ivermectin pills for three days. The other half received a placebo. They tracked whether the patients were hospitalized within 28 days. The researchers also looked at whether patients on ivermectin cleared the virus from their bodies faster than those who received a placebo, whether their symptoms resolved sooner, whether they were in the hospital or on ventilators for less time and whether there was any difference in the death rates for the two groups.