A new study on Ivermectin that showed it’s ineffective for early treatment of COVID-19 prompted renewed criticisms against politicians who were pushing for it.
The study titled “Effect of Early Treatment with Ivermectin among Patients with Covid-19” was reported by The New York Times on March 31.
Breaking News: Ivermectin failed as a Covid treatment, a large clinical trial found. The drug surged in popularity despite no strong evidence that it worked. https://t.co/mvTqgZ5DR8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 30, 2022
It was published in a weekly medical journal called “The New England Journal of Medicine” on March 30, 2022.
Based on the study, the anti-parasitic drug did not lower the rate of hospital admissions of participants with early diagnosis of COVID-19. It also did not improve their speed of recovery.
This study was considered as the largest randomized clinical trial test for Ivermectin efficacy so far.
Filipinos eventually caught wind of this development online.
Many called out the politicians who were previously advocating for this drug for COVID-19 treatment despite the lack of strong evidence to back up its effectivity.
“Sino nga yung politician at iba pa na nag-promote ng Ivermectin? Instead of putting money into testing kits, ito yung inatupag?” one user tweeted.
Others were more scathing and identified Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list) and Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) on their tweets.
Marcoleta is running for senator under the Marcos-Duterte tandem.
Defensor, meanwhile, is seeking a mayoral bid in Quezon City.
“Mike Defensor and Dante Marcoleta, are you listening???” one user said.
“Marcoleta and Defensor left the chat room!” another user tweeted.
In April 2021, both lawmakers distributed Ivermectin tablets for free to residents of a barangay in Quezon City. They called this initiative “Ivermectin Pan-three.”
Defensor even threatened the country’s Food and Drug Administration with possible legal charges should it interfere with the event.
“If they will again stop this initiative, I will fight them in court,” he was quoted as saying in a report back then.
Another social media user mentioned a doctor who also joined in promoting the controversial product.
“Remember when a member of the Philippine Board of Medicine, which crafts the licensure examination for doctors, advocated for this drug?” the user tweeted.
They were referring to Rafael Castillo who was among the signatories of the petition for mandamus Defensor and Marcoleta filed before the Supreme Court in September 2021.
The three petitioned for support for Ivermectin use as possible treatment for COVID-19.
Medical professionals from the so-called “Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines” are also part of this movement.
Details of the study
The researchers conducted a “double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, adaptive platform trial” to symptomatic infected patients in Brazil.
A total of 3,515 individuals participated in their experiment.
In the discussion, the researchers said that the Ivermectin did not render significant treatment results to the infected individuals.
“We did not find a significantly or clinically meaningful lower risk of medical admission to a hospital or prolonged emergency department observation (primary composite outcome) with ivermectin administered for 3 days at a dose of 400 μg per kilogram per day than with placebo,” they said.
“We found no important effects of treatment with ivermectin on the secondary outcomes,” they added.
Filipino doctors who have read this study took to Twitter to voice agreement with the findings.
“Finally after two years, there you have it, Ivermectin doesn’t work,” one doctor named Harold Henrison Chiu said.
“The largest randomized, double-blind trial conducted, with early treatment of IVERMECTIN, showed that there is NO DIFFERENCE compared with placebo. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” vaccinologist Melvin Sanicas said.