Since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2019, several therapies have proven utilitarian in curtailing the severity of the disease – or perhaps, protect you from acquiring it. However, several of them have yielded unpromising results in various clinical trials. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are examples. Yet, the latter showed in vitro toxicity to RNA viruses like SARS-CoV2. Notably, others have propelled astounding results that have revolutionised moderate-to-severe Covid-19 treatment: for example – low dose dexamethasone. Ivermectin has also followed suit in joining drugs like dexamethasone to curtail the disastrous effects of Covid-19.
Hariyanto T.I. et al. conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trial studies that assessed ivermectin and its outcomes on Covid-19 pneumonia and observed the following.
Ivermectin reduces the severity of Covid-19 and mortality. Patients have a shorter time to negative RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) test results. They also show higher negative RT-PCR tests. It has a higher symptom alleviation rate and a short time to have these symptoms subside. It also reduces the hospital stay period.
Ivermectin is a drug that primarily treats parasitic infections but has proven antiviral properties. The coronavirus propagates itself into the host cell using a protein molecule – nucleocapsid protein. The protein must sequester in the host cell’s nucleus via specific transporter proteins in the nuclear membrane. Ivermectin disrupts this process so, the virus stays in the cell’s cytoplasm and the host defence mechanisms clear it before it replicates – reducing its overall survival. It culminates in unrivalled viral RNA clearance that the drug has demonstrated in various in vitro studies.
Unchallenged release and accumulation of inflammatory factors like interleukin-6, 8, 10, and tumour necrosis factor-alpha underlies the progression of Covid-19 from mild to severe disease, ivermectin reduces such molecules at greater propensity to curb inflammatory cascade. In a study in mice, the drug also reduces respiratory tract mucus production and immune cell recruitment. It implies that ivermectin exerts anti-inflammatory effects at both the lung tissue and systemic levels. And this may be the underlying factor the propels the recovery seen among patients with Covid-19.
It is imperative to note that more studies are required to ascertain the effect of ivermectin use among patients with Covid-19 at a population level to expedite its global recommendation.
Read about the entire systematic review from here.