Clinical trials will soon begin in Minnesota to test whether or not ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, is effective in treating COVID-19.
The University of Minnesota School of Medicine will be reviewing the drug along with two others to determine its effectiveness in fighting the virus.
Ivermectin is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use to treat certain parasite-related conditions, and is regularly available by prescription.
However, many harm themselves because they buy versions of the drug intended for large animals like cows and horses from breeding stores and consume doses too large to be considered safe for humans.
University of Minnesota is conducting study to determine if 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 COVID-19 cell replication. The drug is FDA approved 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, or who are taking metformin, insulin, a sulfonylurea, or who have heart, liver or kidney disease are not eligible.
As an incentive, each participant will be offered $ 400.
Those chosen for the study will be placed in one of six groups, each using a different set of drugs for treatment.
One group will receive ivermectin alone and another will receive a combination of ivermectin and metformin, a medicine 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 these two drugs.
The sixth and final group will receive a placebo.
Researchers hope they can either uncover potential new treatments for Covid or rule out these drugs altogether as ineffective.
All three are already approved by the FDA for human use, but not for viruses.
Ivermectin gained social media attention as a potential treatment for Covid after an Australian study found the drug could inhibit cell replication of the virus.
Dr Timothy Geary, a parasitologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and one of the world’s leading drug experts, told DailyMail.com in an interview last month that the study was misinterpreted.
“In this study, they showed that in cell cultures, ivermectin could inhibit [Covid] replication, but the concentrations required for this effect were in a range called the micromolar range – very high concentrations compared to what you would find in the plasma of a treated person or animal, which would be 20 to 50 times lower “, did he declare .
“At high concentrations in cell culture, many compounds can have all kinds of effects, but when you look at what we would call pharmacological levels – what we actually see and treat patients – it’s way higher than [what would be used in humans]
“So the standard doses of ivermectin that we use for people will never reach the levels that would be effective against the virus based on this study alone.”
However, many have used the drug inappropriately to protect themselves from the virus.
The number of prescriptions for the drug has increased 24-fold from before the start of the pandemic, according to a CDC report last month.
However, these prescriptions are generally safe, as they are human versions of the drug.
Where people run into problems is when they buy veterinary versions of the drug, which come in doses much larger than those that are safe for humans – and when overdosed.
This has led to an increase in calls for poison control in recent months, and many local and federal officials have issued warnings against using the drug.