In June, Oxford announced that it would be trialling ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, to find out whether it could be a possible treatment for COVID. Ivermectin is a deworming drug that is usually prescribed to animals, but humans can also treat parasitic infections like river blindness and scabies with the medicine.
The results of Oxford’s trials have yet to be disclosed, but the medicine is nevertheless being championed as a ‘wonder drug’ for COVID on the internet—mostly by people who are nowhere close to being experts on the subject. As a result, many have been self-medicating their COVID infection with this unproven drug.
Overdosing on the 'wonder drug'
More recently, a man from Sydney narrowly escaped death after overdosing on ivermectin and a concoction of other medicines after he was tested positive for COVID. He was then admitted to Westmead Hospital with serious side effects like vomiting an diarrhoea. Medics confirmed that the man's condition was triggered by his improper use of ivermectin, and not because of the virus.
According to The Independent, an increasing number of people have been using the drug for COVID and consequently health professionals have been getting more calls from people about overdosing and severe side effects. They’re urging everyone to stop taking advice from the internet. Naren Gunja, the toxicologist at Westmead, said:
There's no evidence to support the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
Don't look for magic cures online and don't rely on what's being peddled on the internet, because none of them work.
Vets and pharmacists in Australia have also reportedly noticed a rise in demand for the drug, and now they’re being asked to be vigilant.
Global health bodies, including the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have already clarified that the drug is not an authorised treatment for COVID. Dr. Shawn Varney, toxicologist and medical director for South Texas Prison Centre told The New York Times:
Everyone wants some cure for Covid because it’s such a devastating illness. I plead with people to stop using ivermectin and get the vaccine because it’s the best protection we have at this point. Everything else is risk after risk.