Anti-parasitic medicine should help fight Covid-19

Dr Ellapen Rapiti, Eastridge

There is overwhelming evidence that Ivermectin is probably the only drug we have that can destroy the virus and save lives. In a crisis, where lives are being lost, it is criminal to deny people dying or who are at risk of dying from Covid-19, access to a drug that can save lives.

It has been established that the drug kills the virus and acts as an inflammatory drug, so it could and should be used prophylactically, in the early stages of the infection and for patients in advanced stages of the disease.

If the drug is used prophylactically (preventing the spread) and in the early stages we can prevent the rapid multiplication of the virus and in the process prevent patients from becoming severely ill or being hospitalised, but most importantly, prevent deaths.

Evidence of their success has been proven in studies on patients in Bangladesh and Iran.

The results of those studies revealed that over 90% on a single dose of Ivermectin survived. The groups not on Ivermectin took longer to heal and had about 39% death rates compared to 6 % of the group on Ivermectin.

Ivermectin, being fat soluble, can enter the tissues and cells, where the virus resides, to kill the virus.

Its inflammatory effects can help patients with lung inflammation from Covid-19 infection; take patients off ventilators and give millions of people hope to survive.

None of the drugs currently in use – Azithromycin, Hydroxyquinoline, Remdesivir or steroids – can kill the virus or control the virus like Ivermectin can.

All the other drugs have side effects, yet they are used but Ivermectin, which has a 40-year track record, is inexpensive, effective, has no serious side effects and has shown to save lives has not been approved for use by SAPRA (South African Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority) to treat Covid.

All other third world countries, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Iran, Zimbabwe, Nigeria are using the drug with Doxycycline and Zinc.

SAPRA has made it a criminal offence for doctors and hospitals to use Ivermectin. The crime here is to prevent healthcare workers from using a drug that can save people’s lives.

I sincerely hope that the members of SAPRA, who took this hard-line decision, will look at the research on this drug and make it legal for doctors to treat Covid-19 patients with a drug that works and give their patients hope that they can survive

Right now, the recommendation is to use paracetamol, which does absolutely nothing for a flu, because bringing down fevers, is not such a clever idea. A fever is the body’s way to kill the virus.

It would appear that in the US, Europe and Canada, big pharmaceutical companies are not too keen on doing studies on a cheap drug that works because it will not be profitable.

Every health professional and every citizen should stand together and force our Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize to permit the drug to be used to treat Covid-19 patients.

If it is not made legal, we can expect the drug to be sold at a hefty price without proper monitoring of the drug by the underworld, which cannot be controlled by our police force nor by SAPRA.

It is about time we stopped listening to the US, Britain and European Union and start using our own minds to develop policies for our country.

It’s unlikely that we will vaccinate everyone by the end of 2021 so our best bet is to cure the illness by using a drug that works.

⋇Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority SAHPRA chief executive officer

Firstly, Dr Rapiti does not seem familiar with SAHPRA’s compassionate use programme when it comes to ivermectin. SAHPRA implemented an ivermectin controlled compassionate use programme where ivermectin products authorised under this programme can be accessed and the use thereof is controlled and monitored.

The access program has been implemented since 28 January and SAHPRA has processed 146 applications to date under the programme.

Whilst Ivermectin has been touted as a “miracle cure” as espoused by Dr Rapiti, available data to date, mostly from small underpowered studies, show a trend towards some benefit in the management of COVID-19. However, national and international bodies have reviewed the data and have concluded that there is unclear evidence of both benefit and harm, in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Dr Rapiti indicates that “None of the drugs currently in use, Azithromycin, Hydroxyquinoline, Remdesivir or steroids, can kill the virus or control the virus like Ivermectin can.” The reference to drugs such as steroids, for example, Dexamethasone, is erroneous in the sense that these steroids are not antivirals, but it simply reduces the body’s inflammatory response and also assists in reducing the hyperinflammatory response in the airways to assist with breathing.

Whilst making certain claims about the benefits of using ivermectin to treat COVID-19, Dr Rapiti fails to provide any scientific evidence that supports these claims. SAHPRA has stated vociferously that such scientific evidence will be most welcome.