Unfortunately, Ivermectin Is Not a Miracle Cure for COVID-19
Diagnosed with COVID-19, the popular podcaster Joe Rogan reportedly says that he has taken the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for the disease. Although the 54-year-old has called himself a “fucking moron” with respect to his earlier misguided ruminations about COVID-19 vaccinations and said “I’m not a respected source of information, even for me,” he is not so moronic that he relied solely on this drug to treat his illness. He also availed himself of a more high-tech, lab-grown, medically proven monoclonal antibody treatment and steroids to fight off the virus. Rogan has not revealed if he has taken a COVID-19 shot.
So what do researchers know about the effectiveness of ivermectin, approved for human use but best known as a horse deworming medicine, in treating COVID-19? At the beginning of the pandemic, scientists around the globe began testing thousands of existing medications in test tubes to see if they could be repurposed to fight against the novel coronavirus. In very preliminary research, researchers found that ivermectin significantly inhibited COVID-19 coronaviruses in cell cultures.
Encouraged by these petri dish findings, some desperate clinicians began administering ivermectin to their COVID-19 patients. The result was a number of hopeful observational studies by clinicians reporting that ivermectin appeared to be effective—in some cases, highly effective—in preventing COVID deaths. Observational studies are notoriously subject to researcher biases and confounders that can mislead clinicians into thinking an intervention works when actually a third factor is responsible.
Nevertheless, a prominent group of American physicians calling themselves the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) combined these preliminary observational and epidemiological studies into a November 13, 2020, preprint meta-analysis asserting that ivermectin “has highly potent real-world, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.” Among other findings, the FLCCC pointed to reports that widespread distribution of ivermectin in Peru had correlated with steep declines in COVID-19 cases and mortality there. According to the group, cases and deaths began to rise dramatically in the same country after the government ceased distributing the drug.
On December 8, 2020, less than a month after the preprint was posted, FLCCC member Pierre Kory was invited by Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisc.) to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “Ivermectin is effectively a ‘miracle drug’ against COVID-19,” he asserted. (Just three days later, the Food and Drug Administration approved the almost miraculously effective Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use.)
Kory further testified: “We are in a pandemic. We are at war. Stop pretending this is peacetime where we are conducting business as usual. The NIH [National Institutes of Health] must rapidly
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