India Just Became Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19

There are now more than 20 countries on the planet that are using the off-patent anti-parasite drug against Covid-19. 

Doctors in India, the world’s second most populous country, are locked in an epic, gruesome battle against SARS Cov2. The country currently accounts for half of the world’s cases. Many cities are running out of hospital beds. As happened in Mexico and Brazil just a few months ago, medicinal Oxygen has become dangerously scarce and is being sold on the black market at extortionate prices. As of last week fewer than 10% of Indians had received even one dose of a vaccine. Just 1.6% are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database — even though India is producing two vaccines on its own soil and is home to the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer.

This time around, India’s government has spectacularly failed to contain the spread of the disease, largely due to its own complacency. Many doctors are prescribing Remdesivir despite the medicine’s high cost and lackluster performance in clinical studies and unproven safety record. There has been a surge in black market sales of the drug as people have rushed to try to secure it, leading to a crunch in its supply. A single vial can go for Rs30,000 — ten times the official retail price.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

As Jerri Lynn reported on Sunday, the huge uncontrolled wave of infections hitting India is having all sorts of implications for the Modi government. In its desperation to regain control of the virus, India’s government quietly changed its treatment guidelines last week. The new guidelines include the option of prescribing two repurposed medicines for mild Covid patients: budesonid and ivermectin. The former is an inhaled steroid that has been shown to reduce the time to recovery and need for urgent medical care. The latter is an off-patent anti-parasitic that has been discovered to have powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. 

India is no stranger to ivermectin. The medicine has been used as an anti-parasitic for decades. It has also been used in the fight against malaria. Two of its regions, Uttar Pradesh (population: 230 million) and Bihar, have been using the medicine since August, to dramatic effect. By the end of 2020, Uttar Pradesh (UP) — which distributed free ivermectin for home care — had the second-lowest fatality rate in India at 0.26 per 100,000 residents. Only the state of Bihar, with 128 million residents, had less.

But Uttar Pradesh (UP) did more than treat 300,000 mild cases at home through 2020; it also used ivermectin as a prophylaxis. COVID response teams began taking the drug and hardly any of them caught the illness. A similar occurrence was reported in a study of frontline critical care workers in Argentina. U.P. then had contacts of COVID patients take it, with similar success. “Recognizing the sense of urgency,” Amit Mohan Prasad, a U.P. health official, wrote in a Dec. 30 article, “we decided to go ahead.”

Yet UP’s remarkable success at bringing the virus under control did not inform national policy — at least not until now. The Indian Council of Medical Research declined in October to recommend ivermectin nationwide, citing, like so many health regulators, the need for more data. But all that changed last week as India became the biggest country on the planet to adopt nationwide use of ivermectin against Covid-19.

A Growing List of Countries…

More than 20 countries are now using ivermectin to treat Covid-19 to one degree or another, with promising results, despite the fact the World Health Organization has not approved its use. They include Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.  

Ivermectin has a known safety profile, as a well-tolerated life-saving drug that has been prescribed almost four billion times since the 1980s. In 2015 its creators won the Nobel Prize for Medicine (for more information read my previous article, It’s Time to Talk About Ivermectin).

Large “natural experiments” in regions and countries across Latin America and elsewhere add further weight to claims about ivermectin’s purported efficacy. In many of the places it has been used, case numbers, hospitalizations and fatalities have tended to fall in relatively short order. Of course, there’s no way of definitively proving that these rapid falloffs are due to the use of ivermectin. Correlation, as we well know, is not causation. But a clear pattern has formed that strongly supports its purported efficacy. And it’s not just regions but entire countries that now appear to be benefiting from its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Here’s what happened in Mexico after the country’s Institute of Social Security (IMSS) allowed ivermectin to be prescribed to outpatients with Covid, on December 29. (The following graphs come courtesy of Juan Chamie, a data scientist from EAFIT University in Colombia).

Imagen

Mexico’s official COVID-19 report shows fewer than 100 COVID fatalities on each of the last three days. 

A similar thing has appened in Panama, whose government adopted ivermectin on January 8.

Imagen

and here’s Slovakia, which on January 28 became the first EU nation to formally approve ivermectin for both prophylaxis and treatment for Covid-19 patients:

Imagen

And there’s the Czech Republic…

Imagen

 

Continued Opposition Among Health Regulators

Unfortunately, these natural experiments and studies have received little attention in more advanced economies. Many people have still never heard of the drug “ivermectin”, even in countries where it is being used. Most media reports about ivermectin are largely negative, peddling misinformation and often describing it as a “worm drug”. This article by Quartz chastises the Indian government for continuing to use a “woefully outdated treatment plan” that includes “prescribing drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, favipiravir and ivermectin, which showed early promise but were quickly found to be ineffective.”

In the case of ivermectin, this simply isn’t true. Forty six COVID studies, 18 of them peer-reviewed, have shown “high efficacy”. Medical researchers representing the Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), which has been trying to repurpose medicines already on the market for the treatment of Covid-19, just released a peer-reviewed paper in the American Journal of Therapeutics.

Almost all of the studies so far conducted were done in the so-called Global South, in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bangladesh and India. But there has also been a study in Florida. And the results of a double-blind randomized controlled trial in Israel are about to be published. That study found that patients with mild covid symptoms who are given Ivemectin tend to recover from the virus more quickly than those given the placebo.

Yet despite the growing body of evidence supporting ivermectin’s therapeutic effects against SARS-Cov2, national and supranational health authorities continue to drag their feet. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded that the available data “do not support its use for COVID-19 outside well-designed clinical trials”.

In the US the FDA refuses to approve ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. On its own website the FDA says it has “not reviewed data to support use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients to treat or to prevent COVID-19,” — an incredible statement given that ivermectin has been of interest as a treatment against covid for over a year. But in January the National Institutes of Health (NIH) changed their recommendation for the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 from “against” to “neutral”. This is a major step forward. As a result, doctors and hospitals are at liberty to prescribe ivermectin for Covid patients. Many are choosing not to.

In Chicago a DuPont County judge just ordered Elmhurst Hospital to allow a comatose woman suffering from COVID-19 to receive ivermectin. The patient has been in intensive care at the hospital since early April and is now on a ventilator.

“Why does the hospital object to providing this medication?” said the presiding judge James Orel. “If someone has been in the ICU for a month and not improving, why would the hospital not consider another medication?”

It is still not clear whether the hospital will allow Fype to receive the medication.

A Watershed Moment?

Last month, the World Health Organization said there was still not enough evidence that ivermectin works and should only be used against covid in a trial setting. That judgement came just two months after a WHO-sponsored review and meta-analysis of found that ivermectin could cut the number of deaths from Covid-19 by as much as 75%. Crucially, some of the studies suggest that it is effective not only as a treatment in the early and later stages of the virus but also as a prophylactic.

The study’s lead author Dr. Andrew Hill concluded: “If we see these same trends consistently across more studies, then this really is going to be a transformational treatment.”

Yet WHO’s ultimate conclusion is that more studies are needed. That essentially leaves doctors with no effective treatment for the early stages of SARS Cov2. Over one year into the pandemic, the only therapy considered “proven” as a life-saving treatment is the use of corticosteroids. And they should only be used in patients with moderate to severe illness. No agent has been proven — at least to WHO’s standards — to be effective in preventing disease progression from mild to moderate or severe illness. And this is essential since it is the only way of preventing hospitalization. And if medical treatments are incapable of preventing hospitalization, hospitals are going to keep getting overwhelmed.

But even in countries where health regulators have refused to use ivermectin, opposition is growing. In South Africa, for example, a court recently ruled that ivermectin can now be used for other purposes than stated on the label of the registered medicine (off-label use). That includes the treatment of COVID-19.

The fact that India — the world’s second most populous country and one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of medicines — is now recommending the widespread use of ivermectin, in direct contradiction of WHO’s own advice, is testament to how desperate the government has become. Just like in Mexico, treatment packs are being assembled and distributed to patients testing positive for Covid. If the medicine has a similar effect on case numbers, hospitalizations and fatalities as it appears to have had on other countries, this could become a watershed moment.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

31 comments

    1. Hopelb

      I was temporarily suspended twice from Twitter for asking Fauci why he isn’t telling US citizens about ivermectin, quercetin, D3, selenium, zinc, c!

      Reply
  1. Adam1

    Here is a recent interview with Dr. Pierre Kory who has twice spoken in front of Congress (most recently I believe walked out on by several Democratic congressmen for his “fake” science on ivermectin) and has a pre-print study on ivermectin. He’s quite sure there are many well funded interests that want to squash ivermectin because they can’t make much money on it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19DPijOoVKE

    Reply
    1. renegJ

      The cruising industry would have a lot of gain if they could adopt the FLCCC protocol using Ivermectin for prophylaxis, early, late and post stage treatments.

      Reply
  2. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Glad to see the truth at last seeping through.

    The mainstream media trashed ivermectin for not being a cure. The drug shows most efficacy as a prophylaxis.

    To castigate ivermectin for not being a complete cure is like blaming condoms for not being effective in preventing pregnancy when they are utilized ex post facto.

    Reply
    1. SKM

      Ivermectin is the nearest we are going to get to a cure for years. Multiple studies show it to have potent anti-viral and good anti-inflammatory properties – all the information can be found in the public domain, good place to start is of course the FLCCC. If given early/during the viral phase it cuts viral load and in most people prevents the main reason we have a pandemic (of concern) at all i.e. moving on to severe inflammatory invasive disease and death.
      This is the very definition of what even a taylor- made succesful anti-viral would look like. We have scarcely any of these for any viral disease! That this has broad anti-viral properties gives us hope for use in other as yet untreatable viral illnesses (Ebola, Dengue). Will that happen?
      There is definitely a disinformation campaign coming from very high up. The potential of ivermectin has been obvious from mid 2020. Emergency use permits for vaccines depend on no effective treatment being available. Explains everything methinks.
      So, we could have done the following from late spring last year: correct vitamin D levels worldwide (they are generally low in India, and elsewhere), refresh MMR vaccination (inverse correlation of mumps antibody titres and Covid severity) where possible and appropriate, roll out safe effective and cheap Ivermectin world-wide. Yet everything was done to prevent any of that happening. A crime against humanity by any definition.
      Thanks NC for posting this well-written article

      Reply
      1. Foy

        “The potential of ivermectin has been obvious from mid 2020. Emergency use permits for vaccines depend on no effective treatment being available. Explains everything methinks.”

        Agreed, I’m with you there SKM. The campaign against Ivermectin has been quite soemthing to witness, when the doctors who used it swore by it. I’ll never forget the video last year of some US hospital ICU docs and ICU professors who had been working in the ICU ward 217 days straight and been using Ivermectin with excellent results for both treatment and as a prophylatic begging the authorities to look at their results.

        Reply
      2. Equitable > Equal

        I agree.. The off patent/emergency use really is what it’s coming down to. Unfortunately for those in charge this move to portray themselves as the knight in shining armour hasn’t really worked, between production delays, blood clotting, and the sheer inequality of vaccine distribution (COVAX in particular turning into a dustbin for AZ vaccines that Western populations refuse to take).
        I hope that this turns out to be the moment where pharma overstepped the bounds.

        Reply
  3. Jack

    Could it be that the successful use of Ivermectin as a treatment and even prophylactic for Covid 19 is being suppressed in the more developed countries in order to not discourage vaccination rates in any way?

    Reply
    1. Phillip Cross

      It looks like it stopped working in Uttar Pradesh vs. new variant, if it ever worked at all. Cases and deaths there are very bad too now.

      https://covid19.healthdata.org/india/uttar-pradesh

      Perhaps the early success had nothing to do with ivermectin, just the earlier “original” Covid-19 dynamics were weak in countries with a climate like India and south east Asia. As soon as a viral variant that worked in the climate came along, cases and deaths went parabolic.

      Reply
      1. Mantid

        Dear Phillip, unfortunately and respectfully, your comment is off base and includes errors such as “Cases and deaths there are very bad too now”.

        Your link does not present “facts” – it is a projection and (quote from site) “all scenarios include vaccine distribution”. The “projections” are flawed as they don’t include Ivermectin which is being widely distributed. The reason Uttar Pradesh’s cases went up (briefly) was that many workers who were down in Mumbai, returned to UP because of the big outbreak in Mumbai. They wanted to avoid being locked down. That made cases in the Ivermetin using state of UP go up. However, after the first influx of these worker’s return and because of the availability if IVM, cases are plummeting in UP. Across India, in 12 states, active cases are now on the downhill side. This is not due to vaccines, it is the result of the recent approval of Ivermectin, initially in only a few states and now nation wide.

        Feel free to bookmark this site as it is based on facts and not (biased and flawed) projections. You will see quite a different story as it is updated daily. Site: https://www.ndtv.com/coronavirus/india-covid-19-tracker

        And Jack, yes, big pharma is all in on vaccines. Here’s an article from today in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/04/pfizer-forecasts-26bn-annual-sales-covid-vaccine ….. sure enough, Pfizer hopes to make $26bn from it’s vaccines (a projection like Phillip’s) and that’s only one corporation. Imagine how much Amazon, Moderna, J&J, Zoom, etc. “appreciate” the income due to Covid. No money to be made by them and their cronies from an off patent, cheap as pennies pill.

        Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          Dear Mantid, unfortunately and respectfully, your comment is off base and includes errors. The link shows the actual observed numbers and future projections. Look again. The numbers are very bad, just as I said. It seems like the Ivermectin stopped working?

          ps welcome to the site.

          Reply
          1. Mantid

            Dear Phillip, thank you for writing. I reviewed the numbers and what I see now, upon closer inspection is a mixed bag. In Uttar Pradesh I see: Cases + 29,052; Active (I’m supposing “active infections”) – 9,920; Recovered + 38,687; Deaths + 285. So with those numbers, and focusing on Uttar Pradesh, I’d call them mixed, not bad, considering the large population there. Thanks for inspiring me to revisit the numbers. It’ll be interesting to watch, especially over the next month or so.

            And yes, one of the best sites with thoughtful comments. Cheers!

            Reply
      2. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Some Indian doctors who are members of FLCCC, believe that one of the factors that has led to the recent rise in Utter Pradesh & it’s neighbours is due to once again migrant workers fleeing from Mumbai in the worst effected province Maharashta. Pierre Cory covered it in the last weekly update.

        The exodus started about 4 weeks ago as shown below.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwTKNKLXBKI

        Reply
  4. Robert Hahl

    The people I know who have had symptoms and then tested positive for Covid-19 were told to go home and sleep it off, don’t let anyone in or out of the house for two weeks, and try not to give it to their families. No treatment at all, no antibodies like Trump got (and, I assume, Rudy Guiliani and Chris Christie), no vitamins no zinc. Passing it around at home was initially said to be the most important mechanism of transmission, but I have not heard much about that lately.

    Reply
  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    One quibble with an otherwise fascinating article: That is DuPage County, just west of Cook County, here in Illinois.

    I was surprised to see Portugal in your list of countries experimenting with ivermectin. But the Portuguese pride themselves on doing things their way. I have been using Portugal and Greece as “tests” because both have populations of about 12 million, which make for easy comparisons to my home state of Illinois.

    While Illinois stumbles along at a 2,500 or so new cases a day and roughly 30 deaths, Portuguese authorities reported on Saturday a day’s worth of statistics: One death and 330 new cases.

    Ivermectin? Well, it may be one of many causes. The Portuguese have been stricter about stay-at-home than U.S. jurisdictions have. Much to think about in the post above. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. rowlf

    I like to do weekly searches about reporting on ivermectin and I really get a sense that there is a Vaccines Only! hasbara group aggressively trying to stomp out any interest in treatments. Bizarre. Many articles have the same tone of Don’t-even-think-about-anything-other-than-vaccines-to-save-yourselves when, from what I can see from reports of possible benefits of ivermectin use, there is no downside to people if ivermectin is used in reasonable doses and it may help people.

    Some of the people that are ivermectin curious refer to themselves as Team Pony Paste, which probably gets under the skin of the people of the Do As You’re Told Team. In the comments sections of many articles the members of the Do As You’re Told Team seem to scream at any discussions they do not approve of.

    Reply
  7. Richard Needleman

    Just a quick note. There have been many statements on this site that Ivermectin is most useful as a prophylactic, with the implication that it is less useful in more advanced disease. This is simply not the case. Ivermectin has multiple possible mechanisms of action and many of these are important in its reduction in mortality for late stage patients. Most of the primary data is available on the FLCCC web site(https://covid19criticalcare.com) The evidence for the efficacy of Ivermectin far exceeds that for remdesivir (which Fauci said was a ‘game changer’), which despite being found largely useless by a WHO trial is still approved for use for C19 in the US.

    One may note that some of the disinformation campaign has come from Merck which has a new–and likely very expensive–C19 drug coming out soon. Among other things Merck has claimed that Ivermectin can cause liver damage, although in the 1.5 billion doses given one can find only 3 potential examples. This is especially strange since Merck held the patent on Ivermectin for parasitic diseases and the FDA insert contains no such cautions. Ivermectin is now generic and costs roughly 2 cents/pill….

    The fact that Democratic lawmakers take the extreme step of walking out on a scientific presentation–well, you can guess possible influences.

    Reply
  8. vw

    Good – we finally will have an answer to the question of ivermectin, 2 or 3 months from now. Whatever the results are in India, they will be pretty hard to hide.

    Here’s to hoping that it works, and saves lives, even though this outcome would forever damn my own country.

    Reply
  9. Patrick

    The NIH is suddenly an outlier when it comes to Ivermectin. I’ll take it as good news because I assume it will allow physicians to administer it as a treatment for covid 19 without having to worry about legal repercussions. Nevertheless in the case of the 68 year old woman who’s been hospitalized since April, now comatose and on a ventilator, the hospital is still reluctant to use it as treatment despite a judge’s order because “the FDA says it could be harmful”. I have never heard such words uttered about any of the vaccines; “it could be harmful”. I guess despite being accurate it’s far too negative. The hospital takes umbrage in the fact that a judge is issuing medical orders. Meanwhile the WHO, the FDA and the EMA are still pretty much on the same page regarding Ivermectin. The EMA states that Ivermectin should not be used outside of “well designed clinical trials”. Well designed like what I wonder? Like the AstraZeneca vaccine trials? You can read about the timeline and details of those trials and find some informative links at http://www.hildabastian.net. Granted, AZ were initially only seeking Emergency Use Authorization, but look at the unorthodox protocols and the manner in which data was gathered and interpreted. It raises the question of unequal standards. I’m curious to know what percentage of the population in India can afford
    Remdesevir, which appears more problematic than Ivermectin, at $406.00 a vial. Will Quartz write a follow up article, correcting the inaccuracies in the first one and reporting any updates and positive developments on the status of Ivermectin?

    Reply
  10. Yeti1958

    I’ve commented here before about ivermectin and finally got my doctor to prescribe it to me just in case I come down with Covid-19. I went to my local pharmacy to fill my order 2 weeks ago but they were out of it and told me they would have to order it in. Within 15 minutes I received a phone call from the pharmacy telling me that it was on back order with their distributor and did not know when they would receive it. I phoned every pharmacy within 200k (125 miles) and no one had it in stock. I live in central B.C. Now I am trying to obtain it from outside Canada as it seems it is unavailable here. Any trusted site to get it would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Yeti1958

      I meant to mention, the cost for my 5 day course of 12mg/day is $180 Can. Apparently the same dosage is less than $20 in Mexico.

      Reply
    2. CoryP

      Yeah it’s still on patent in Canada and Stromectol by Merck is the only option available for me a pharmacist to order. Indefinite back order. And it’s not cheap! (Aside from vet meds, but I’m not privy to their distribution channels.)

      Frustrating for sure, though I somewhat doubt I’d find a doctor to prescribe it anyway.

      [edit: could be off patent, but still it is only sole-source here]

      Reply
      1. renegJ

        The same case in Australia where no generic IVM available. However, importation for personal use is allowed as long as you can show a valid prescription, if ever asked.

        Reply
  11. cm

    Covid vaccines are permitted under Emergency Use Authorization, which include the caveat

    Under section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), when the Secretary of HHS declares that an emergency use authorization is appropriate, FDA may authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions caused by CBRN threat agents when certain criteria are met, including there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.

    Were Ivermectin found to be an adequate alternative, then no more vaccines, and the drug companies can’t survive at two cents a pill.

    Reply
  12. lupemax

    I posted this article on FB and got a notice that it’s “against community standards”. Didn’t have a chance to point out that it was “news” and thus accurate. Don’t know what this all means. But FB sucks. and Censorship is against the 1st amendment.
    Welcome to the new Amerika. From FB:

    “You disagreed with the decision
    Thanks for your feedback. We use it to make improvements on future decisions.”
    I wasn’t able to give any “feedback”
    popup ‘support box’ that only lectured – no place to reply or say anything.

    “About your post
    No one else can see your post.”

    Reply
  13. David Mills

    The Pfizer Covid vaccine is already the most profitable drug in history, despite only being on an Emergency Use Authorization. They WILL to keep it that way. There will be vaccine passports and annual boosters. They DO NOT WANT a cheap off patent drug to mess with their grift. Qui bono?

    Straight to Remdesivir. Straight to MRNA / Adenovirus based vaccines. J&J vaccine gets smeared as dangerous with blood clot issues at a rate of 1/6000th that of oral birth control. Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaguely threatened with non-recognition. Qui Bono?

    I wish Mehdi Hassan had started his interview with Faucci with the question: “Do you have any pecuniary interest in vaccine manufacture?” Fun Fact: Kary Mullins, the Nobel Prize winning developer of the PCR test, said that “…Faucci doesn’t really know anything about anything.”

    Reply
  14. John Anthony La Pietra

    Auto-correct-o alert:

    The paragraph mentioning “a DuPont County judge” should instead say “DuPage County”. (Full disclosure: I used to live there 40+ years ago.)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *