All adults in Goa, irrespective of their COVID status, to be given anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin; WHO warns against it

The Goa government on Monday approved the use of Ivermectin drug as a preventive treatment for all adults. State’s Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that all adults in Goa will be given Ivermectin, irrespective of the individuals’ vaccination status, to prevent complications arising out of COVID-19 infection and to bring down the mortality in the state.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug and is used to treat many types of parasite infestations. The drug does not prevent COVID-19 but can help reduce the severity of the disease.

The Health Minister said that patients will be given Ivermectin 12 mg tablet for a period of five days as expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain and Japan have found a significant reduction in mortality, timely recovery and viral clearance in COVID-19 patients who were treated with this medicine.

Apart from this, the Minister also stated that Ivermectin 12 mg tablet will be made available in all the state’s district, sub-district, PHCs, CHCs, sub-health centres, and rural dispensaries for people to collect the drug and start their treatment immediately, irrespective of any symptoms.

Is the drug safe to use?

After the Government of Goa announced the use of the Ivermectin drug, World Health Organization on Tuesday recommended against the general use of ‘Ivermectin’ for treatment of COVID-19 patients as the drug has no therapeutic effect against the coronavirus. Also, there is no meaningful evidence for the clinical efficacy of the drug in patients infected with COVID-19.

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration and even Merck & Co., the company that produces the drug have cautioned against using it. Apart from this, the Union Health Ministry last year also decided not to include the drug in the National Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 for the treatment of virus-infected patients.

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