By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA|Most countries are going back into lockdown due to the spike in Covid-19 cases. Currently there over 36,000 Covid-19 cases and 290 deaths registered in Uganda so far.
The numbers are rising by the day, and health analysts foresee more infections and deaths in the coming months.
But as the talk of the vaccine hits center stage, there is something that health experts and government are not telling Ugandans. This is the effectiveness of the ‘wonder drug’ Ivermectin.
Ivermectin, a cheap and widespread drug has shown the potential for “transformative” changes in Covid-19 mortality rates, according to scientists.
Scientific findings claim that ivermectin, originally an antiparasitic, cuts deaths by 80 per cent among patients in hospital. The findings come from the combined results of 11 trials.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is a medication used to treat many types of parasite infestations. This includes head lice, scabies, river blindness, strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis, and lymphatic filariasis. It can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for external infestations.
Research conducted by scores of medics has revealed that Ivermectin is an effective, and affordable drug against Coronavirus.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) sponsored review of Ivermectin trials showed an 83% reduction in covid mortality.
Dr Andrew Hill of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool (UK) performed a WHO-sponsored review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of ivermectin against covid.
In the following 12-minute video, Dr Hill is presenting his preliminary results, which indicate a highly significant 83% reduction in covid mortality (95% CI 65%-92%).
Dr. Hills result is based on in-hospital trials, so it does not yet take into account early ambulatory and prophylactic treatment.
Dr Hill describes low-cost ivermectin as a potentially “transformational treatment” against covid. (https://swprs.org/who-preliminary-review-confirms-ivermectin-effectiveness/)
currently, the wholesale price of Ivermectin has been going for shs5,000 ($1.4), but it has since shot up to shs7,000 ($2) and is expected to shoot up due to high demand. Scores of ‘selfish’ pharmacists and drug shops are currently heading Ivermectin and re-selling them at very exorbitant prices.
In a mini-survey in town, we established that some pharmacies and drug outlets are selling Ivermectin at between shs10,000($2.8) – shs15,000 ($4) per tablet.
“I am wondering why the government of Uganda is not spreading the news about the effectiveness of Ivermectin and how best it can be used to prevent against covid 19,” said a top science researcher based in the US.
Where else has it worked?
A trial conducted in the Dominican Republic for eight months among 7,000 covid patients showed a 99.3% recovery rate.
After eight months of active clinical observation in three medical centers located in Puerto Plata, La Romana, and Punta Cana, Dr. José Natalio Redondo revealed that 99.3% of the symptomatic patients who received care in his emergency services, including the use of Ivermectin, managed to recover in the first five days of recorded symptoms.
The renowned cardiologist and health manager affirmed that Ivermectin’s use against the symptoms of Covid-19 is practically generalized in the country and attributed to this factor, among others, the fact that the risk of dying from this disease in the Dominican Republic is significantly lower than in the United States.
The Dominican Republic currently has 175, 849 recorded covid 19 cases, 134, 331 recoveries and 2, 419 deaths with a fatality rate of just 1.38%.
Healthcare workers in South Africa including doctors have also lobbied for the use of Ivermectin. (https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/sa-healthcare-workers-advocate-use-of-ivermectin-for-covid-19-treatment/)
South Africa currently stands 1 113 349 cumulative cases, with a recovery rate of 81.9%, as seen in the graphic below:
A specialist at the Lenmed Shifaa Hospital Dr Farida Amod says while the vaccine is being procured, Ivermectin can help to reduce the number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 related deaths.
“Ivermectin in some randomised controlled trials and in some epidemiologic settings where they’ve used it for mass programmes has been shown to have been very positive So I think when you have a situation where the need is so dire and immediate, we can’t wait for new drugs because that takes time. So, to use re-purposed drugs like ivermectin is an excellent idea.”
Dr Amod says Ivermectin is a therapeutic bridge between where we are now till when the vaccine becomes widely available. It does not replace the vaccine or fill the vital gap of an effective vaccine.
She says it has been successfully rolled out in overseas countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Two weeks ago, the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) had banned Ivermectin, saying there was no clinical evidence to support claims that it’s a miracle cure for COVID-19.
It further warned that its use could lead to harmful effects and even death.
However, SAHPRA has since said it’s currently reviewing new data it has received regarding the use of Ivermectin, as outlined in the video below:
The key is early treatment.
The physician with more than 40 years of practice of medicine presented a report on the experience registered in the clinical management of Coronavirus in the health establishments ascribed to the RESCUE GROUP, integrated by the Bournigal Medical Center, of Puerto Plata; Clinica Canela, of La Romana; and Punta Cana Medical Center, in the province of Altagracia, where about seven thousand patients diagnosed with the virus have been attended since last March 2020.
“From the beginning, our team of medical specialists, who were at the forefront of the battle, led by our emergency physicians, intensivists and internists, raised the need to see this disease in a different way than that proposed by international health organizations, says Dr. Redondo in his report.
And he adds that the Group’s experts proposed the urgency of reorienting the management protocols towards earlier and more timely stages. “We realized that the war was being lost because of the obsession of large groups, agencies, and companies linked to research and production of drugs, to focus their interest almost exclusively on the management of critical patients.
“Our results were immediate; the use of Ivermectin, together with Azithromycin and Zinc (plus the usual vitamins that tend to increase the immune response of individuals) produced an impressive variation in the course of the disease; it was demonstrated that 99. 3% of the patients recovered quickly when the treatment was started in the first five days of proven symptoms, with an average of 3.5 days, and a fall of more than 50% in the rate and duration of hospitalizations, and reducing from 9 to 1 the mortality rate, when the treatment was started on time.”
Integral management of Covid-19
Dr. José Natalio Redondo explained that “once the presence of the virus was demonstrated in our areas of influence, three of our hospitals were adapted to a process of physical re-engineering and management to turn them into Health Centers authorized for the integral management of COVID-19 patients.”
The high rate of hospitalization and mortality
He emphasized that this committee was the promoter of the use of Ivermectin in the management of the disease associated with Covid-19; “first of all, because of the evident inefficiency shown by the management schemes initially proposed by national and international organizations, which were filling our hospitals with seriously ill patients and a very high mortality rate.
He specifies that Dominican patients were dying mainly because of the loss of time in seeking rapid medical assistance, or because of the inconsistent policy of sending them home, without antiviral treatment, with paracetamol and hydration, until their evolution led them to get worse so that they returned to the emergency service.
“Those who get complicated have a common denominator that we see repeated and repeated, always, they arrive when the inflammatory phase has already begun; at a time when the immune response can be so intense that it attacks our cells, or when the damage caused by the virus at the intracellular level is already almost irreversible,” Dr. Redondo emphasizes.
Uganda used Ivermectin before
Back home here in Uganda, Ivermectin is not new. It was mass distributed against the control of onchocerciasis in 1991. The report (https://www.academic.oup.com/heapol/article/13/2/167/693582) describes a community-based ivermectin distribution programme covering two foci in the Kabarole district which had an estimated 32 000 persons infected and another 110 000 at risk.
The drug was administered through nodule palpation in adult males in 143 villages were where nodule prevalence exceeded 20%. Skin snips were also taken from a sample of the population to measure changes in community microfilarial load (CMFL) with treatment.
Reduction in the CMFL ranged from 40–62% twelve months after the second ivermectin treatment in three villages, and from 69–84% six months after the fourth round of treatment in two villages. After four years of treatment, 85% of eligible persons were receiving ivermectin from community volunteers in each treatment cycle.