JUNE 25 — MyICID is deeply concerned regarding the use of ivermectin as prophylaxis and treatment for Covid-19 among the public before it has been endorsed in any clinical guideline, either locally or internationally for these indications.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug with good efficacy and safety profile. Based on laboratory evidence, anecdotal reports and several early clinical trials, ivermectin appears to be a potential repurposed drug for Covid-19 prevention and treatment.
However, results from well designed, large randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the efficacy and safety of ivermectin in Covid-19. To date, there are more than 80 randomized controlled trials on ivermectin which are either completed or ongoing around world. A large scale trial like the PRINCIPLE study by the oxford scientist should provide an answer if this drug can be repurposed as an antiviral to treat Covid. Locally, Malaysia is conducting a similar clinical trial involving 500 high risk Covid-19 subjects. The results from these trials will yield robust scientific evidence, on not only on the role of ivermectin in Covid-19 treatment, but also on the optimal dose and duration needed for effective outcomes without causing any adverse effects to the patients.
Currently, well recognised health organisations and authorities such as WHO, FDA, IDSA, EMA, as well as our own Ministry of Health Malaysia have recommended the use of ivermectin only in the setting of clinical trials. MyICID concurs with this recommendation as this will ensure the safety of patient whist evaluating the effectiveness of ivermectin in Covid-19.
We disagree with the premature sentiment that ivermectin is a "miracle drug" for Covid-19 at this juncture, as the evidence that is available is controversial.
Furthermore, such sentiments can lead to misuse and illegal profiteering of ivermectin, which may bring harm to the people. There have been reports of people acquiring ivermectin from illegitimate sources or consuming ivermectin meant for animal use, leading to development of adverse effects. It is also important to note that ivermectin interact with other medication and if taken together can lead to detrimental outcomes. As consumers, we must exercise our rights and wisdom to understand the risk and benefit of any medication before taking them.
We strongly urge the Malaysian public to heed the advice and adhere to the current treatment recommendations by the Ministry of Health and other international health agencies who are rigorously evaluating the efficacy and safety of ivermectin in Covid-19 treatment.
* MyICID is the Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases.
**This is the personal opinion of the writer our publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.