A similar study on Ivermectin was conducted by a research team of Monash University in Australia and also showed positive results
A Bangladeshi doctor claims an anti-parasitic drug repurposed for Covid-19 treatment has helped a patient fully recover from the infection in just four days.
The medicine can kill the novel Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus in just 48 hours, he said.
Prof Tarek Alam, a doctor of internal medicine and respiratory diseases who leads the clinical trial program at Bangladesh Medical College (BMC), said: “Sixty coronavirus patients were tested. Taking doxycycline with a single dose of ivermectin reduced the patient's symptoms by 50% in just 3 days, and they were completely virus-free in 4 days.
“If we had applied for this medicine earlier, we would not have lost so many people in the country,” he added.
A similar study on Ivermectin was conducted by a research team of Monash University in Australia and also showed positive results.
On April 3 this year, the journal "Antiviral Research" showed that infecting the Vero-hSLAM cell line with the novel coronavirus and applying Ivermectin reduced the amount of virus in the cell line by up to 5,000 times in 48 hours.
The scientists said Ivermectin is an approved anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza, and the Zika virus.
“Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as safe medicine. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use in humans will be effective,” said the prime minister’s health adviser, Dr ABM Abdullah.
He added: “When my relatives and others familiar to me call and want a suggestion to cure normal flu symptoms, I always prefer this medicine. Normal flu symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of Covid-19.”
The drug has so far worked in 100% of cases with an absence of side effects, but it needs to be administered in the early stages, he added.
Japanese 2015 Nobel Prize winning microbiologist and Kitasato University Professor Emeritus, Satoshi Omura, helped develop Ivermectin as a treatment for parasitic infections. Ivermectin attacks the nerves and other cells of parasites.
The Tokyo-based university recently announced plans to conduct clinical trials of the drug for Covid-19 treatment.
Australia, the USA, China, and India have already applied for the anti-parasitic.
Although appreciating the findings of the studies on Ivermectin, Prof MA Khan urged caution as clinical trials on critical Covid-19 patients were yet to be completed.
He also cited a study in China’s Wuhan that found 1.75% of blood clotted in those who had died from Covid-19.
“Ivermectin can help to improve blood circulation,” he added.
Regarding the use of the antiparasitic treatment, Dr Tarek Alam said: “BMC is not a Covid-19 hospital, so we cannot apply it to critical patients. However, some institutions are already working on it, including ICDDRB.”
‘BMC has formed committee to collect data on Ivermectin’
BMC has formed a committee to collect data on those who have recovered after being treated with the anti-parasitic. The findings will be published in an international journal upon completion.
They will be working with the government and its other supporting health organizations.
As of now, BMC has applied for the medicine for 60 patients, including intern doctors, staff and doctors’ relatives, family members, and those who are not willing to go to COVID-19 hospitals. At least 45 of them experienced reduced symptoms in 48 hours and later tested negative, while the others are yet to undergo tests.
BMC Director Abdus Sabur said: “it astonished us to see that it is working. There is no specific treatment for Covid-19 and it has no toxicity or side-effects.”
He urged all Covid-19 hospital authorities to provide this medicine to patients.
“We always support any good initiative and this treatment should be on the frontlines. We will discuss with DGHS and other health-supporting wings soon,” said National Technical Committee advisor Prof MA Khan.
Ivermectin is a 6 mg tablet marketed in Bangladesh by Delta, Beximco, and Aristopharma Pharma under the names Scabo, Ivera and Evactin, respectively. Originally, ivermectin was used to treat scabies.
Delta Pharma prices their variant at only Tk6 per piece. The price of Beximco Pharma's medicine is Tk10. The price of doxycycline per piece is only Tk2.20.