DOH says not enough evidence antiparasitic drug can treat COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2020 06:14 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health said Monday there is not enough evidence for them to recommend the use of antiparasitic drug ivermectin against COVID-19.

Reports say ivermectin, which treats many parasite infestations, has been used in other countries to deal with COVID-19. In the Philippines, it is being used to prevent lymphatic filariasis, which can cause elephantiasis.

The DOH previously warned against using it to self-medicate against COVID-19.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they were able to look into studies done in Bangladesh and Dakha in India.

“Meron silang initial result ng kanilang pag-aaral ukol sa ivermectin against COVID-19. Pero ang kanilang sample size is just very small, which is not really enough to conclude and to give us appropriate conclusions na talagang magwo-work ito,” she said during a virtual briefing.

(They have initial results from the study looking at ivermectin against COVID-19. But their sample size is just very small, which is not really enough to conclude and to give us appropriate conclusions that it will work.)

Vergeire pointed out that no one has applied yet for compassionate use or clinical trial of ivermectin in the Philippines.

With no approved cure yet against COVID-19, doctors and researchers around the world have been using off-label drugs or those meant for other illnesses to treat patients.

So far, the World Health Organization said only corticosteroids like dexamethasone are effective in treating severe and critical COVID-19 patients. However, they may also have harmful effects and are not found to be effective in patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

Since the start of the pandemic, 76.8 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 1.69 million have died and almost 43.3 million have recovered. There are around 31.8 million people currently infected with COVID-19.

In the Philippines, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 461,505 on Monday, including 23,341 active infections, 8,957 deaths, and 429,207 recoveries.