It’s been months and still the whole world is trying desperately to invent a new drug or to repurpose an old one. In this scenario, the key to drug discovery for this deadly virus is intelligence on all such treatments and vaccines. While it will take 12-18 months for vaccines to come, the best bet we have to save the world is to find an existing drug that has a proven safety profile and for treating COVID-19 patients.
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The report presents one such existing drug Ivermectin, as a potential preventive medication to reduce viral load of COVID-19. It is also known as ’wonder drug’ like Penicillin and Aspirin, is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously known to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro and most importantly is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2). The only way to break the chain and bring back the economy on track is to find an already proven FDA approved drug which has been successfully mass administered in past with exceptional safety profile and most importantly is affordable for Indians unlike super expensive drugs, like Remdesivir, which will cost approximately INR 50,000 for a 5 days’ course (even for a generic version). One example of its efficacy is from the results of trials. Its use has shown a ~5000-fold decrease in the viral load within 48 hours. Ivermectin has also reduced mortality rates in hospitalized COVID-19 Patients in a Cohort Clinical Study Conducted in South Florida.
The proposed generic drug reduces efforts and costs for developing a new vaccine. This report covers the major research conducted globally for determining efficacy of Ivermectin for COVID patients. The report provides exhaustive details on safety profile of, its adverse events recorded in history, its past clinical trial records and combinations, record of brand names under which it is sold in India, pros and cons on the use of Ivermectin, etc.
Perhaps more than any other drug, Ivermectin is a drug for the world’s poor. For most of this
century, some 250 million people have been taking it annually to combat two of the world’s most devastating, disfiguring, debilitating and stigma-inducing diseases, Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis. Most of the recipients live in remote, rural, desperately under-resourced communities in developing countries and have virtually no access to even the most rudimentaryof medical interventions. Moreover, all the treatments have been made available free of charge thanks to the unprecedented drug donation program.
The said 45-year-old drug has been described in detail in the report. This helps to compare Ivermectin against the drugs available currently for the treatment of COVID. With WHO predicting the global number to touch 10 million soon, we need a drug that has high efficacy and low side effects. The number of researches across the globe, the history of drugs, lack of side effects and its economic availability are evident and thus there is an urgent need to push forward for a fast tracked clinical trial. It will be a matter of pride for India, if we become the first country to conclude the accelerated clinical trials with a positive outcome nationwide (or at least in the red zones where infection is increasing beyond manageable limit) of this 50 years old drug with very good safety profile.
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