A new study suggests a drug used to tackle head lice and scabies could be a ‘good solution to the pandemic’.
More than 30 trials across the world have shown ivermectin can cause ‘repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes’, the study states.
Ivermectin is usually used to treat parasites, the Mirror reports.
Several studies have been undertaken using the drug as a treatment for Covid-19 since the outbreak began in 2020.
The latest study, which claims the evidence is so strong that the drug should be used as a common therapy, will soon be published in the Fronteirs of Pharmacology journal.
The study says that there was a drop in cases and death rates when local authorities in some South American countries called out “ivermectic distribution”.
It suggests the drug ‘may prove to be a global solution to the pandemic.’
Countries including Belize, Macedonia and the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India are using the ivermectin as a treatment, the study says.
Scientists are calling on more resources to better understand the studies.
They say that they want to “confirm the major, positive epidemiological impacts that have been recorded when ivermectin is widely distributed among populations with a high incidence of Covid-19 infections.”
Study co-author Professor Paul Marik, director of emergency and pulmonary care at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in the US, said the data was ‘overwhelming’, according to the Daily Mail.
He was reported to have said: “We are in a pandemic, and this is an incredibly effective way to combat it.
“If we use ivermectin widely, our societies can open up.”
Covid infections, hospitalisations and deaths are cut by about 75 per cent, the Mail adds.
It is understood that Dr Tess Lawrie, director of the Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy has submitted a 97-page report to the World Health Organisation, urging it to recommend ivermectin to treat the virus.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency is reportedly looking into the global study and reviewing the evidence.
The National Institutes of Health has called for more statistics to back the drug.
In a report, the body said: “There are insufficient data for the Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19.
“Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19.”
It has further been reported that a trial of ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus patients is set to start soon at Oxford University.