Clinical trials will begin soon in Minnesota to test whether or not the anti-parasite drug ivermectin is effective in treating COVID-19.
The University of Minnesota medical school will study the drug along with two others to determine their effectiveness in fighting the virus.
Ivermectin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use to treat certain parasite-related conditions, and it is regularly available by prescription.
However, many are harming themselves by buying versions of the drug intended for large animals such as cows and horses from livestock stores and consuming doses too large to be considered safe for humans.
University of Minnesota conducts study to determine whether ivermectin, fluvoxamine or metformin are effective in treating COVID-19 (file image)
Ivermectin gained attention on social media after a study found it could inhibit the replication of COVID-19 cells. The drug has been approved by the FDA for human use to treat certain parasite-related conditions, but people have overdosed using veterinary versions of the drug
Researchers are currently recruiting participants for the study.
To be eligible, a person must be between the ages of 30 and 85 and have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three days.
People who are currently hospitalized for any reason, are taking metformin, insulin or sulfonylureas, or have heart, liver or kidney disease are not eligible.
As an incentive, everyone who participates will be offered $400.
Those chosen for the study will be placed in one of six groups, each of which will use a different set of drugs for treatment.
One group will receive ivermectin alone, and another group will receive a combination of ivermectin and metformin, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes.
A third group will receive metformin alone, the fourth group will receive fluvoxamine – a drug that treats obsessive-compulsive disorder – and a fifth group will receive a combination of the two drugs.
The sixth and final group is given a placebo.
Researchers hope they can either discover new potential treatments for Covid, or completely rule out these drugs as ineffective.
All three are already FDA-approved for human use, but not for viruses.
Ivermectin caught the attention of social media as a possible Covid treatment after an Australian study found that the drug could inhibit the replication of the virus cells.
dr. Timothy Geary, a parasitologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the drug, explained to DailyMail.com in an interview last month that the study was misinterpreted.
‘In that study they showed that ivermectin can inhibit in cell cultures’ [Covid] replication, but the concentrations needed for that effect were in a range called the micromolar range — very high concentrations compared to what you’d find in the plasma of a treated person or animal, which would be 20 to 50 times lower be,” he said. .
‘At high concentrations in cell culture, many compounds can have all kinds of effects, but if you look at what we would call pharmacological levels – what we actually see and treat patients – it is much higher than [what would be used in humans]
“So the standard doses of ivermectin that we use for humans will never reach the levels that would be effective against the virus based on that one study.”
However, many have used the drug inappropriately to protect themselves from the virus.
There has been a 24-fold increase in prescriptions for the drug compared to before the pandemic began, a CDC report from last month found.
However, those prescriptions are generally safe, as they are from human versions of the drug.
Where people get in trouble is when they buy veterinary versions of the drug, which come in doses far greater than what’s safe for humans — and overdose.
This has led to a spike in poison control calls in recent months, and many local and federal officials have warned against using the drug.