New Delhi: The University of Oxford is working on the possibility of using the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19. It was testing the drug as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings, the University said on Wednesday.
Ivermectin resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19 and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use.
Dubbed PRINCIPLE, the British study in January showed that antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline were generally ineffective against early-stage COVID-19. Although the World Health Organisation, and European and US regulators have do not recommend the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients, it is being used to treat the illness in some countries, including India.
“By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like PRINCIPLE we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against COVID-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use,” co-lead investigator .co-lead investigator of the trial Chris Butler was quoted as saying by Times of India (TOI).
People with severe liver conditions, who are on blood-thinning medication warfarin, or taking other treatments known to interact with ivermectin, will be excluded from the trial the university added.
Ivermectin is the seventh treatment to be investigated in the trial and is currently being evaluated alongside the antiviral drug favipiravir, the university was quoted as saying.