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Taiwan warns public against taking Ivermectin for COVID

CECC warns public taking deworming pills could endanger health

Ivermectin packaging. (medpagetoday image)

Ivermectin packaging. (medpagetoday image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) unequivocally declared that there is no evidence that supports the use of Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 and warned the public to not use the deworming drug for this purpose.

Amid a rampant global flood of fake news reports purporting the effectiveness of the antiparasitic agent Ivermectin in treating COVID-19, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) on Wednesday (Nov. 3) stated in no uncertain terms that the current evidence does not support the use of the drug for the treatment or prevention of the virus. Chuang emphasized that the drug is not included in treatment guidelines for COVID-19 by any governments in Western Europe or the U.S.

Chuang stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) warns against the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. He pointed out that the medication is actually used to treat parasitic diseases and that versions for veterinary use are not meant for human consumption.

Taiwan warns public against taking Ivermectin for COVID
Chuang warning public against use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. (CECC image)

An expert committee of the CECC carried out an extensive review of international literature and found that flawed studies on the use of the deworming drug to treat COVID-19 presented dubious findings with very low evidence certainty, with many papers being retracted due to errors. The results of the CECC's review show that the current body of evidence does not support the use of the antiparasitic pills to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Chuang said that Ivermectin can be purchased to rid animals of parasites. However, he then strongly urged the public to not purchase the medication for their own personal use to avoid endangering their health.

After reviewing the evidence on the drug, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advised against its use for treatment or prevention of the virus and that "the available data do not support its use for COVID-19 outside well-designed clinical trials." The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) treatment guidelines state that there is insufficient evidence to provide a recommendation for or against its use.

A panel consisting of the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England, and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition found there is "insufficient evidence to recommend it for treating or preventing the disease." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized Ivermectin for treating any viral illness, including COVID-19.

The drug's main manufacturer Merck on Feb. 4 stated that there is "No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease," and it added that there is a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.