HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessThese covid-19 patients may benefit from Ivermectin - expert

These covid-19 patients may benefit from Ivermectin – expert

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Advocates of ivermectin say there is strong evidence that the drug works. On one well-documented website (ivmmeta), more than 80 separate articles on the issue are listed and linked to, many of which appear to corroborate this assertion on the surface. Could all of these studies be wrong?

Avi Bitterman, a dermatologist in New York, and Scott Alexander, a popular blogger, recently conducted research that reveals the answer is nuanced. Ivermectin is likely to treat a subgroup of covid-19 patients who are also afflicted with the worms it was developed to combat.

Dr. Bitterman noted that the research that looked the best for ivermectin tended to cluster in areas with high rates of infections by strongyloides, a parasitic worm, as he combed through the papers with sound methodology. Strongyloides, which are found in most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, can induce diarrhoea, fatigue, and weight loss, among other things. They only become a serious threat if their numbers get out of hand. If a person is taking corticosteroids, which both weaken the immune system and make female worms more fertile, they are much more likely to get “hyper-infection,” which can be fatal. And, because it inhibits the immune system from going into overdrive and attacking the body’s own cells, dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is now a routine treatment for severe covid-19.

Dr. Bitterman believed that strongyloides could explain the inconsistent results of research on the usefulness of ivermectin as a therapy for covid-19, based on observations by David Boulware, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. Many persons could have both covid-19 and strongyloides infections in studies conducted in countries where the parasites are endemic. Their bodies’ defenses against the worms may have already been compromised by Covid-19; treating the coronavirus with corticosteroids would allow the parasites to run wild.

Strongyloides were kept at bay in the groups that got ivermectin during the trials. Patients in control groups, on the other hand, would be at the mercy of the worms. This would give the impression that ivermectin was only used to prevent deaths due by covid-19, whereas in fact it was used to prevent deaths caused by parasites or a combination of the two infections. This mechanism could explain why most trials in areas where strongyloides are uncommon found little benefit from ivermectin treatment.

“Ivermectin doesn’t treat covid,” Dr. Bitterman wrote. “It treats parasites (shocker) that kill people when they get steroids that treat covid.” He found that “taking strongyloides endemic populations, putting them into a control group with corticosteroids is a death sentence”.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2020, a group of doctors argued that it was “reasonable to consider presumptive treatment with ivermectin for moderate- to high-risk patients not previously tested or treated for strongyloides,” and that the risk of worm infection in covid-19 patients should be “based on factors such as country of origin and long-term residence.”

Ivermectin is also recommended by the World Health Organization in this situation. Most people in wealthy Western countries, such as the United States, do not meet these criteria. In fact, demand for ivermectin is so high, according to social media boosters, that some people have resorted to taking the horse version of the treatment. The findings implies that mainstream clinicians in countries with extensive strongyloides are correct to avoid using ivermectin, at least when treating patients who have never visited a country with widespread strongyloides.

Image Credit: Getty

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