In the battle against COVID-19, most of the world has turned to vaccines as the main line of defense. Still, a number of doctors and hospitals are looking for other options that could potentially play a role in defeating this global pandemic.
Several treatments have seen success in treating the disease, such as Regeneron and Remdesevir. The drug Ivermectin also continues to generate interest. While the FDA and other organizations advise against it, one Israeli doctor is reporting positive results in clinical trials.
Professor Eli Schwartz is with the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, considered one of the world's top hospitals. For decades, Prof. Schwartz has traveled the world fighting outbreaks like Dengue Fever and Ebola. He also began the Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease Institute at Sheba. At the beginning of the pandemic and months before any vaccine, Israel's Defense Ministry assigned Schwartz to find a medical solution for COVID-19.
"Since Ivermectin is one of the drugs that we are using in daily life in the Tropical Institute, I knew it. I know the safety profile of it. And since there was some hints of in-vitro studies, which show the efficacy against specifically, even against COVID-19, we decided to go for it."
That meant putting the drug through a clinical trial that lasted 10 months.
"Our study, which was done here, it's a randomized controlled trial, double-blind. It's really, I would say, this is the best method that you are doing studies. And our conclusion is that it really has antiviral activities," Shwartz told CBN News.
From his international experience in the field, Schwartz knew Ivermectin targeted parasites. Since its development in 1987, nearly 4 billion doses with few side effects and at low cost have protected millions of people from insidious parasitical diseases like River Blindness and Elephantiasis.
That success won its developers the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2015. Schwartz's study made headlines in Israel when his trial showed Ivermectin to also be anti-viral.
"This is the first drug to show antiviral activity. And then, I think, there's a good reason to continue with a much more thorough investigation to see, for example, whether people who are at high risk, may not deteriorate to be hospitalized, to be mechanically ventilated, or to death Schwartz's clinical study found that by day four, 86% of his patients who took ivermectin recovered. By day six, 94% recovered.
"The bottom line is that ... Ivermectin decreased faster the viral load, and also sterilized the culture much better compared to the placebo," he said.
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