Ivermectin has been proven to be ineffective in reducing the risk of developing severe illness from Covid-19, according to a study carried out by Institute for Clinical Research (ICR).
According to NST, Malaysia’s clinical trial study on the effectiveness of the drug has been published in an international peer-reviewed medical journal.
The study titled “Efficacy of Ivermectin Treatment on Disease Progression Among Adults With Mild to Moderate Covid-19 and Comorbidities” was published on 18 February in the JAMA Internal Medicine, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also congratulated the ICR and its director Dr Kalaiarasu Periasamy.
The study and its finding
The Ivermectin Treatment Efficacy in Covid-19 High-Risk Patients (I-TECH) study was an open-label randomised clinical trial to study the effectiveness of the antiparasitic drug in reducing the risk of developing a severe disease in patients.
The study was at 20 public hospitals and a Covid-19 quarantine centre in Malaysia between 31 May 2021 and 25 October 2021.
The study involved 490 patients who are above 50-year-old with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19, comorbidities and mild to moderate disease, within the first week of showing symptoms, and they were given a 5-day course of oral Ivermectin during the first week of illness.
The study found that Ivermectin did not reduce the risk of developing severe disease compared with the standard of care.
“In this randomised clinical trial of high-risk patients with mild to moderate Covid-19, Ivermectin treatment during early illness did not prevent progression to severe disease. The study findings do not support the use of Ivermectin for patients with Covid-19.” the study concluded.
In November last year, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Ivermectin could not be recommended to be included as part of the current Covid-19 treatment guidelines based on the findings.
He said this is because Ivermectin did not reduce the risk of severe Covid-19 disease.
Noor Hisham added that the results from the I-TECH study were consistent with the large-scale studies such as IVERCOR-Covid-19 from Argentine and TOGETHER from Brazil.