The inexpensive animal medicine may help reduce deaths.

Ivermectin – a common ingredient in equine wormers and other anti-parasitic animal medicines - could reduce Covid-19 deaths and infection. 

Following promising early trial results, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is pressing for further research with a view to the drug’s eventual licensing for human use. 

Crucially, ivermectin is inexpensive, off-patent and therefore available without commercial constraint. Hence the excitement about adding it to the currently limited arsenal of drugs available to treat Covid-19.

Ivermectin’s promise emerged when researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted a meta-analysis [overview] of 18 studies.  Six of these reported a 75% reduction in deaths among moderate to severe Covid-19 patients treated with ivermectin.

In addition, faster elimination of the Covid virus was noted in patients given ivermectin – presenting the tantalising prospect that they could be less infectious.

Scientists involved in the work say the results are encouraging, but emphasise that more research is needed. 

Image by torstensimon