Eli Schwartz, a professor and founder of Sheba Medical Center’s Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease, told The Jerusalem Post on June 15 that a drug used to treat parasitic infections could be effective in treating COVID-19.
The drug, Ivermectin, kills parasites in the body that can cause infections such as scabies and river blindness. Schwartz said that he started to look into the drug after President Donald Trump touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential therapeutic to fight the virus. On June 15, the FDA revoked its emergency-use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVOD-19.
“We decided to look more widely for other medications and considered a few drugs that might have antiviral activity,” Schwartz said.
He is launching a study to test the drug’s efficacy on COVID-19 patients; he’s hopeful it will be completed in a few months. So far, 26 people have signed up for the study.
Schwartz believes that Ivermectin could eradicate the virus from a patient’s body in six days.
“The majority of people who get positive results have to be out of life (segregated from the public),” he said. “If [Ivermectin] works, they could take medication for a few days instead and be cured.”
Bangladesh Medical College and Hospital (BMCH) has observed some effectiveness in the use of Ivermectin in combination with the antibiotic doxycycline on COVID-19 patients. The combination has been used on 60 patients; the patients recovered from the virus in 10-11 days, on average.
However, BMCH Head of Medicine professor Tarek Alam told the Hindustan Times that Ivermectin is not effective on COVID-19 patients that have severe symptoms.
“As it works reducing replication of the novel coronavirus in the patient’s body at the early stage, our physicians gave the drug to those police personnel who start showing symptoms even if they were not tested,” he said.
Additionally, Australia’s Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute released a paper in April finding that Ivermectin could kill the virus in 48 hours.
“We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it,” the institute’s Dr. Kylie Wagstaff said in a statement at the time. “Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective — that’s the next step.”
As of this writing, there are 19,122 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Israel and 302 deaths from the virus. Israel has seen a spike in cases since the country started reopening the economy; senior health official Sigal Sadetzky told Kan public broadcaster on June 15, “Right now, we don’t have markers to detect who is spreading the virus, as we did in the beginning. We don’t know where we need to be particularly careful, and where we need to carry out more tests — and this is the problem.”