Ivermectin saga continues, plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

28 May 2021 - 07:02 By TimesLIVE
Ivermectin ... miracle treatment or misguided hype?
Ivermectin ... miracle treatment or misguided hype?
Image: Supplied

Are you even South African if you are not in a WhatsApp group where people are singing the praises of Ivermectin as a miracle cure for Covid-19? 

The scientific and political fight about the approval of the drug for the treatment of Covid-19 is intensifying across the world. And with the third wave on our doorstep in SA and our vaccination programme struggling to take off, groups like AfriForum and I Can Make A Difference (a group of doctors) are demanding that ivermectin be recommended for use against Covid-19 urgently. 

The dilemma, says a doctor we spoke to, is that people are desperate. “You can't tell a patient he's uninformed or stupid because he doesn't want to wait for when the vaccine finally arrives. People are dying.” She says she doesn't hesitate to prescribe Ivermectin. 

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But health authorities and several scientists insist that the drug should not be used for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19. 

Prof Francois Venter, one of SA's leading Covid-19 researchers, says proponents of Ivermectin think the drug has near-magical qualities. “They also claim there is an international conspiracy that suppresses their findings. Such preposterous claims need solid evidence, and I have seen very little to convince me,” he says. 

The latest study about the drug (it was published in the last week and is still in the preprint stage) found that ivermectin is not a viable option in the treatment of Covid-19 patients. It had no impact on the death toll or length of hospital stay for patients who were mildly ill.

Until there is conclusive proof either way, Venter says the responsible thing to do is to wait. 

Read more about the Ivermectin and vaccine saga, and more news and analysis this week in Vrye Weekblad.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

HELL HATH NO FURY | When Norma Gigaba started spilling her husband's secrets — first on TV and then at the Zondo commission —  it was like white-hot lava flowing from a volcano of fury. 

FREE TO READ — OH, HELEN! | Helen Zille is desperate to keep liberalism on the right side of history. That's why she is clinging for dear life to Western liberal values. But, bless her heart, she is temerarious.

WE HAVE WORK TO DO | Human rights activist Yasmin Sooka made a strong plea this week about an unfinished historical issue, but the country's attention was elsewhere. 

THE WEEK IN POLITICS  | Max du Preez looks at Jacob Zuma's court drama, Sihle Zikalala's dilemma and Tom Moyane's fairy tales. 

GIVE ME A SHOT! | Our vaccines are still crawling and not rolling out, but government says not to worry, it will be OK. But we're taking that with a pinch of salt and tried to find out where we stand and what you should do if you are not in the queue yet.