There’s not enough data to say whether an antiparasitic drug called ivermectin can help patients with coronavirus, the National Institutes of Health said Thursday.
A few doctors have heavily promoted the drug, but most mainstream medical professionals have been cautious about its use. Because there’s no cheap drug on the market specifically designed and approved to fight coronavirus, doctors have been trying out existing drugs.
There is reason to experiment with ivermectin, NIH said.
“Ivermectin has been shown to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture. However, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies suggest that ivermectin doses up to 100-fold higher than those approved for use in humans would be required to achieve the plasma concentrations necessary to duplicate the drug’s antiviral efficacy in vitro (in a test tube),” it said in a statement posted Thursday.
The drug "demonstrates potential anti-inflammatory properties in some in vitro studies, properties which have been postulated to be beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19," the statement also said.
But so far, no one has shown it helps actual patients.
“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 for the treatment of COVID-19,” it concluded.