Pharmacists are warning the public against taking Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug which has been rumored to be effective in treating COVID-19, the Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) said tuesday.
The lobby group for pharmacists said further tests must be done to verify the efficacy of the drug in living organisms, despite initial media reports that the anti-parasitic drug was a breakthrough solution to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
|Ivermectin tablets / Yonhap|
Various media have reported on Ivermectin's possible use as a COVID-19 treatment after reading a collaborative study on the drug led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity. The joint study, under the auspices of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia, showed that the drug killed coronavirus cells within 48 hours in in-vitro experiments. The drug is readily available around the world for its primary use in killing parasites in humans.
In the study, researchers said they found that a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA within that timeframe and that even at 24 hours there was a significant reduction. However, they also noted that there is a further study on whether the maximum dose humans can take will be effective, as the mechanism of action by which Ivermectin targets the virus is unknown.
In this regard, the government here also announced that it was not possible to use the drug for treating patients right away as its safety and validity have yet to be verified.
"The in vitro efficacy of the anti-parasitic drug has not been proven in vivo ― in living organisms ― and it is premature to use in the human body," KCDC director Jung Eun-kyeong said during a regular press briefing at the Government Complex in Sejong.
Ivermectin is a medication widely used to treat many types of parasite infestations including head lice, scabies and river blindness.