DOST ends Ivermectin clinical trials for Covid-19 treatment

Published May 21, 2022, 1:39 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Upon the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has decided to end its Ivermectin trials that sought to evaluate the efficacy of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin against Covid-19.

Ivermectin pills (Photo courtesy of IndiaMart via PNA)

During the weekly DOST report of Sec. Fortunato T. dela Peña on Friday, May 20, he said that the agency, upon the recommendation of the DOH and the DOST-PCHRD Governing Council, has decided to discontinue the study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin in Covid-19 patients.

Dela Peña said that they arrived at the decision during the DOST-PCHRD Governing Council Meeting held on May 11. The following were the bases for the decision:

  • Delays on the project such as submission of deliverables;
  • Lack of clinical benefits of Ivermectin based on the recent studies;
  • Issuance of the Recommendation against the use of Ivermectin; and
  • Availability of effective therapeutics for the early phases of COVID-19.

In a statement last February, DOH said that no significant effect on symptom resolution and hospitalization rates has been shown by the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin making it an inadvisable treatment against Covid-19.

Together with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the two agencies reiterated that it does not recommend the use of Ivermectin as treatment for COVID-19 citing recently published scientific journal articles stating that it did not reduce the risk of developing severe disease.

“The study of Lim, C.L. et al (2022) demonstrated that Ivermectin treatment during early illness did not prevent progression to severe disease. In line with this, the study of Hill, A. et al (2022) showed that some of the studies involved in previous meta-analyses suggesting significant benefits of Ivermectin for COVID-19, were found to have methodology concerns that could potentially result into outcomes bias, coupled with ethical and plagiarism issues, thus the need for more quality protocols in evaluating clinical trials,” DOH said.

It added that according to the FDA, the only registered oral and intravenous preparations for Ivermectin are veterinary products, and are only approved for use to prevent heartworm disease and treat internal and external parasites.

The currently available for human use in the Philippines is in topical formulation, which is used to treat head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea.