Oxford University trial tests use of ivermectin as Covid-19 treatment
The University of Oxford said on Wednesday it was testing the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for Covid-19 as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings.
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.
Dubbed Principle, the British study in January showed the antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline were generally ineffective against early stage Covid-19.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) and European and US regulators have recommended against using 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,” said co-lead investigator of the trial Chris Butler.
People with severe liver conditions, who are on the blood-thinning medication warfarin, or taking other treatments known to interact with ivermectin will be excluded from the trial, the university said.
Ivermectin is the seventh treatment to be investigated in the trial, and is being evaluated alongside the antiviral drug favipiravir, the university said.