Could Ivermectin be an answer to both parasites and pandemics?

It is sitting on most veterinary supply shelves and a staple for numerous cattle owners, but the drug Ivermectin could also be a viable preventative and treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Ivermectin, a Food and Drug Administration-approved antiparasitic drug, is most commonly recognized in the agricultural community for its use in the treatment of parasites in livestock.

However, it is also used to treat several tropical diseases in humans, including onchocerciasis, helminthiases and scabies.

Ivermectin can also treat some parasitic worms and external parasites, such as head lice, and skin conditions such as rosacea. So how did some researchers make the connection between a drug often used in cattle and the treatment of COVID-19?

According to Paul Marik, M.D., in March 2020 several Australian scientists published an in vitro medical paper showing that Ivermectin inhibited replication of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the coronavirus.

“Now this was an in vitro test tube study, not a clinical study, so it was widely distributed and got people’s attention, but at that time there was no clinical data,” he said.

Dr. Marik, a professor of medicine and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and a founding member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, said researchers have previously shown that Ivermectin was effective for a whole host of other viruses including West Nile, Zika and HIV. Apart from being an effective anti-parasitic drug, it also has broad-spectrum anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

“All of these properties make it the ideal drug to use for the coronavirus,” Marik said.

The National Institute of Health states that Ivermectin impedes the host importin alpha/beta-1 nuclear transport proteins, which are a central part of the intracellular transport process that viruses seize to increase infection by pacifying the host’s antiviral response. The NIH refers to the drug as a host-directed agent, which is why it has been so successful with broad-spectrum activity in vitro against the viruses.

However, the NIH states that studies have shown reaching the plasma concentrations required for achieving antiviral effectiveness would involve quantities up to 100 times the FDA-approved dosage for humans, which has not been studied enough to know the possible ramifications for patients. At this time, the NIH COVID-19 treatment guidelines do not recommend the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial. Marik, one of the most published critical care doctors in the world, is adamant that the NIH’s recommendation is incorrect.

“Currently to date, there are 18 randomized control trials that have been published, which show Ivermectin decreases time of virus shedding, length of hospital stays and mortality,” he said. “The mortality of the Ivermectin groups in these studies was 2.3% and in the control group is was 10%. There is absolutely no doubt, this drug decreases viral replication, improves symptom resolution and mortality.”

Further supporting his claims, Marik said one of his colleagues in Houston, Texas, has been prescribing Ivermectin since March 2020 when the initial studies came out and his hospital has the lowest mortality of any hospital in the entire world.

The data does not lie

In December 2020, Pierre Kory, M.D., associate professor of medicine at St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and founding member of the FLCCC Alliance, testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the effectiveness of Ivermectin as both a prophylaxis and a treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Kory referenced a study conducted in Argentina, in which 800 health care workers were given Ivermectin as a preventative medication and none of them were infected by the coronavirus during the experiment. Kory continued by saying among the 400 health care workers that were not prophylaxed with Ivermectin, 237 individuals or 58% of the group contracted the virus.

“If you take it, you will not get sick,” Kory said. “It has immense and potent anti-viral activity.”

Kory said four large, randomized controlled trials with over 1,500 patients are in progress and information is being gathered on Ivermectin as a prophylaxis and the evidence collected so far has overwhelmingly shown it is immensely affective. He went on to say there are three randomized control outpatient trials underway that have shown while taking Ivermectin, the need for hospitalization or death decreases. To further bolster its claims, the FLCCC Alliance indicated a meta-analysis of the data compiled from their studies was recently completed by an independent research group and it determined the chances Ivermectin is ineffective in treating COVID-19 are 1 in 67 million.

“The most profound evidence we have is in the hospitalized patients,” Kory said. “We have four randomized control trials there, all showing the same thing: you will not die or you will die at much, much lower rates. These are statistically significant, large magnitude results if you take Ivermectin. It is proving to be a wonder drug and it is critical for its use in this disease.”

In addition, Marik said studies of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, show a dramatic effect in reducing the risk of infection when exposed.

Sign up for HPJ Insights

Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

“If one person in your household contracts the virus you have about a 50% chance of getting COVID-19,” Marik explained. “Based on the randomized trails, if you take Ivermectin, you can reduce the risk from about 50% to about 6%.”

Marik and Kory both emphasized the need for prevention of COVID-19, rather than treatment.

“I’m a lung and ICU specialist and I have cared for more dying COVID patients than anyone can imagine,” Kory said. “They’re dying because they can’t breathe and by the time they get to me in the ICU, they’re already dying and almost impossible to recover.

Marik said if the health care system were to focus on prevention and early treatment with Ivermectin, hospitals would empty, the risk of dying would decrease and that would allow the economy to open.

“Any further deaths are going to be needless deaths and I cannot be traumatized by that,” Kory said. “I cannot keep caring for patients when I know they could have been saved with earlier treatment and the drug that will treat them and prevent hospitalization is Ivermectin.”

Have we been handling the virus correctly?

Apart from the NIH not endorsing Ivermectin, one of the faults Marik finds with the NIH’s guidelines is that it does not recommend any early treatments for patients with coronavirus.

“I get hundreds of emails and the typical message goes ‘I have COVID, I contacted my doctor. My doctor said there is nothing I can do. I must stay at home until I turn blue and can’t breathe and then to the emergency room,’” Marik explained. “That is the current recommendation of the NIH. The only treatment they recommend is Remdesivir, which has been removed by the World Health Organization because it has been deemed ineffective. The solidarity trials of Remdesivir showed no benefit, yet it is the most commonly prescribed medication in this country.”

Additionally, Marik said convalescent plasma, a commonly prescribed therapy, should not be used at all in COVID-19 patients.

“We absolutely and categorically know convalescent plasma does not work,” Marik said. “It’s an outrage that doctors are prescribing medications that do not work. In the whole history of medicine, there is only one study that actually shows the benefit of convalescent serum and that was for the treatment of Argentine hemorrhagic fever, published in 1979. Anyone with any understanding of COVID-19, would know this is not a blood-borne disease and convalescent plasma is not going to work and actually exposes the patient to enormous risks.”

Marik cites a misunderstanding of the virus and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry for why these treatments have been used, while Ivermectin has been ignored. According to Marik, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website lists Ivermectin as a dangerous drug and that it causes hepatitis, drug reactions, comas and seizures. He said 3.7 billion people have used it (since its use began in the 1970s) and in all those people there was only one case of hepatitis in one patient and he said the association with hepatitis and Ivermectin was very loose.

“It is on the WHO’s list of essential medications and is probably one of the safest medications known to mankind,” Marik continued. “The safety issue is nothing more than lies and propaganda and people just need to look at the literature to validate that claim. What is happening is a moral outrage and there are a lot of people who are going to have to be held accountable for all these avoidable deaths. This is a cheap, effective drug that is readily available and people are not going to profit from it—it’s quite simple. I don’t think there is another explanation.”

Marik said he and his colleagues at the FLCCC Alliance have had a target on their backs since going public on social media with the studies they have conducted with Ivermectin.

“Our information has been taken down from YouTube and Facebook because these sites are claiming we are promoting medical misinformation,” Marik explained. “The absurdity in that is quite striking because we haven’t uttered a single word that is not true. It’s all based on science and truth and yet we are being censored.”

Marik said none of the physicians and scientists at the FLCCC Alliance have any vested interest or benefit from spreading the word about Ivermectin’s success with fighting COVID-19—they only want to save lives. Although Marik is relieved a vaccine has been developed, he still sees a great need for the use of Ivermectin.

“I’m not an anti-vaccination person, but we have 4,000 people dying every day,” he said. “I think the vaccine has a role, but whether it is going to be enduring we don’t know. Vaccinations are not going to stop the deaths right now, but Ivermectin in our protocol could stop them. It is going to take a long time for 60% to 70% of the entire world’s population to be vaccinated and we achieve herd immunity. We need to do something in the meantime.”

While Marik has received his first round of the vaccine, he plans to continue his 15 milligrams of Ivermectin every two weeks as a prophylaxis until he is fully protected by the vaccine. Recently the WHO assigned a group of doctors with the task of looking at the Ivermectin studies that have been conducted and they will present their takeaways from the findings soon, which could be a turning point in the use of the medication.

“I don’t know what they will decide to do, but we just hope they have the common sense and humanity to change their guidelines,” Marik said.

Lacey Newlin can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].