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Old Remedies still work?

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Head lice drug Ivermectin is being tested as a possible coronavirus treatment, but that’s no reason to buy it

Researchers testing the head lice drug Ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19 have seen promising results in lab studies.

But the research is in its early stages and the drug is yet to be tested on people with COVID-19. There’s so much we don’t know, including the right dose and delivery method for people with coronavirus infection.

What is Ivermectin currently used for?

Ivermectin is an antiparasitic agent that was isolated in the 1970s from the fermented broth of a species of bacteria called Streptomyces avermitilis.

The drug has been used since the 1980s to treat and prevent diseases related to parasites in humans, pets and livestock, and works by paralysing invertebrate parasites.

In Australia, Ivermectin is mainly used topically in creams and lotions for head lice.

It’s also used in tablet form to treat roundworm infection and as a second-line treatment for scabies and rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face.

What are the side effects and potential harms?

When used at the recommended dose, Ivermectin is generally well tolerated. Some of the common side effects include diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness.

Less common is a lack of energy, abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, tremors, rashes and itching.

Ivermectin may also interact with some medicines, such as the blood-thinning drug warfarin, or worsen some conditions such as asthma.

Ingesting Ivermectin found in topical products for head lice is dangerous. If this occurs, contact the Poison Information Hotline.

How might Ivermectin treat COVID-19?

Recent laboratory data from scientists at Monash University and the Doherty Institute suggests Ivermectin is able to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from replicating.

Ivermectin has also been shown to stop other viruses (such as HIV, dengue, influenza and Zika) replicating, at least in the laboratory.

The researchers found Ivermectin had an effect on SARS-CoV-2 after one exposure to the drug. Viral replication was shut down within 24 to 48 hours.

It’s still not clear exactly how Ivermectin works. But it appears to stop the processes that allow proteins to move within the virus. These proteins would normally dampen the body’s antiviral response, allowing the virus to replicate and enhance the infection.

Where is the research on Ivermectin for coronavirus up to?

This research on Ivermectin has been conducted in cell culture (cells grown in a laboratory) and is very preliminary. It provides some promise, but not evidence of an effective treatment in people (yet).

Rigorous clinical trials in people with or exposed to COVID-19 infection are needed to establish the drug works and is safe to use, and in what doses. The laboratory studies of Ivermectin suggest higher concentrations of the drug may be needed beyond a standard dose to have an antiviral impact. So safety monitoring will be important.

If Ivermectin is found to work on people with COVID-19, it needs to be studied as a potential treatment. So researchers need to know: does it prevent COVID-19 infection, reduce the severity of the associated illness, or improve the time to recovery? These are important questions to be answered before it becomes a treatment for COVID-19.

On a positive note, re-purposing drugs such as Ivermectin as a potential treatment for COVID-19 is ideal because development can move quickly to clinical trial testing because we already know it’s safe to use in humans at currently recommended doses.

Should I buy some just in case?

No. It’s too soon to know if the promising laboratory test results will translate into a safe and effective drug for COVID-19 patients. The researchers were very clear Ivermectin should not be used to treat COVID-19 until further testing is complete.

We certainly shouldn’t be stockpiling the drug to use later, especially since we don’t yet know the best way to take Ivermectin, including the right dose. And it could lead to unintended medicine shortages for people who need the drug to treat serious diseases caused by parasites.

Here you are nasska, that old drench you have kept must have a use after all. I know a few farmers who used to drench themselves and the dogs after drenching the sheep.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Gave what I had left away to the neighbour when I sold up Ed.

    If only I’d known I could now have been offering quick cures off the back of the ute for $50 a throw! 🙂

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    • I have still got a bottle of coopers copper sulphate and nicotine they used to drench sheep with. If the lambs survived that they were good breeding stock.

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      • My old man used to spray his tomatoes with copper sulphate & soaked his cigarette butts then used the water to spray for white butterfly.

        Off topic but I reckon that the only chemical imported into NZ until the early 1900s must have been arsenic. It’s coming back to bite us in the rear end now as in the Wairarapa there are a few sites of old drench pools where the artesian water is contaminated for all time.

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  2. Nasska

    Actually no; by the 1900’s there were other ‘doubtful’ chemicals besides the Arsenates being imported, and in large quantities for a variety of industries.. They included such delights as Potassium Cyanide, Mercury in various forms and Chlorine, in addition to many others.

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  3. I say we begin clinical trial immediately on Ardern.

    We can inject her with a variety of suggested remedies. Starting with bleach.

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  4. I have never seen a drench pool but often dip pools and grass grub remedies.
    Some of the culprits listed below:
    Dieldrin -probably the worst,traces found in the Antartica penguins eggs.
    DDT -again issues.
    Arsenic, a heavy metal ,may be not so bad ,used for Rabbit poison, treating building timber and posts. Also used as a common urban weed killer.
    Organic Phosphorus, used to be found in numerous sheep dips and tomato sprays- common name Diazinon but there were others.Now pretty much banned.
    Most of those address ectoparasites when we really need to address endoparasites.

    There are a number of new generation drenches that could be tried ( so long as not on me. )
    Thibenzole, Nilverm and Ivermectin are at present the three major chemical families and it is combinations of those that have been used for many years.
    There are very few new remedies about.
    So research must continue apace.

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