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A new potential at-home treatment for coronavirus is being looked into by researchers led by the University of Oxford. The drug Ivermectin, which is usually used to treat parasites, which has already been used in Latin and South Africa throughout part of the pandemic.
Ivermectin has been found to lead to a reduction of virus replication in laboratory analysis, and a pilot study showed the drug could reduce viral load and symptom duration in those with mild Covid-19.
However, the use of Ivermectin has been controversial as Oxford researchers say there is “little evidence … to demonstrate that it can speed up recovery from the illness or reduce hospital admission” in large-scale randomised studies.
Professor Chris Butler, from the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said the study would look to test its efficacy.
He said: “Ivermectin is readily available globally, has been in wide use for many other infectious conditions so it’s a well-known medicine with a good safety profile, proscar minnesota and because of the early promising results in some studies, it is already being widely used to treat Covid-19 in several countries.
“By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like Principle, we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against Covid-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use.”
Researchers are conducting the study as part of a wider one which is evaluating treatments that can help people aged over 50 recover more quickly from coronavirus and prevent the need for hospital admission.
Ivermectin is the seventh drug to be analysed as part of this.
Participants will be given a three-day course of treatment and then followed up for 28 days with comparisons drawn against those who have been given standard NHS care.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is usually used to treat parasitic infections.
It’s most commonly put to use against diseases such as river blindness, which is spread by flies.
Ivermectin has also been shown to kill viruses in Petri dishes in a lab.
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The treatment is more commonly used in parts of the world where there are high incidences of parasitic infections.
While the drug is largely safely, it can be toxic at higher doses.
It is currently being used to treat coronavirus in Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, Peru and the USA.
The drug has been chosen for the trial due to its wide availability and because it is known to be a relatively safe drug.
Six other drugs have been chosen for the trial – with only one, an inhaled steroid called budesonide, so far proved effective in treating Covid-19
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