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How is Ivermectin thought to work on COVID-19?

  • For the SARS-CoV-2 virus to make you sick, it has to first infect your cells.

  • Then while inside the cell, the virus makes heaps of copies of itself, so it can spread around your body.

  • The virus also has ways of reducing the way your body fights the infection.

  • During the infection of the cell, some viral proteins go into the cell nucleus, and from here they can decrease the body’s ability to fight the virus, which means the infection can get worse.

  • To get into the nucleus the viral proteins need to bind a cargo transporter which lets them in.

  • Ivermectin can block the cargo transporter, so the viral proteins can’t get into the nucleus. This is how the scientists believe Ivermectin works against SARS-CoV-2 virus.

  • By taking Ivermectin, it means the body can fight the infection like normal, because its antiviral response hasn’t been reduced by the viral proteins.

Is Ivermectin an approved medicine by the FDA?

Ivermectin tablets (Stromectol) are an approved by the FDA for use in intestinal worms Strongyloides stercoralis and Onchocerca volvulus.

Ivermectin cream 1% (Soolantra) is FDA approved for rosacea.

Ivermectin is not FDA approved to treat COVID-19.

Ivermectin tablets are also used off-label for a number of other conditions.

Ivermectin intended for animal use should not be taken by humans.

Side effects of ivermectin

Side effects of oral ivermectin are rare and usually minor. These include:

  • Transient tachycardia (fast heart rate)

  • Flushing

  • Nausea

  • Lightheadedness

  • In treatment of onchocerciasis; fever, rash, muscle or joint aches and tender glands and eye irritation/swelling or pain

  • In treatment of strongyloidiasis; diarrhoea, skin rash

  • More severe neurological side effects are theoretically possible in rare susceptible individuals

The safety of ivermectin in pregnant women has not been studied and such use is not recommended. Studies in animals have shown an increase in birth defects. Safety and effectiveness in children under 15kg has not been established. Ivermectin passes into breast milk and use during breast feeding is not recommended.

Proposed Mechanism of Action and Rationale

Reports from in vitro studies suggest that ivermectin acts by inhibiting the host importin alpha/beta-1 nuclear transport proteins, which are part of a key intracellular transport process that viruses hijack to enhance infection by suppressing the host’s antiviral response.4,5 In addition, ivermectin docking may interfere with the attachment of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein to the human cell membrane.6 Ivermectin is thought to be a host-directed agent, which may be the basis for its broad-spectrum activity in vitro against the viruses that cause dengue, Zika, HIV, and yellow fever.4,7-9 Despite this in vitro activity, no clinical trials have reported a clinical benefit for ivermectin in patients with these viruses. Some studies of ivermectin have also reported potential anti-inflammatory properties, which have been postulated to be beneficial in people with COVID-19.10-12

Credited to vitro studies

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