Treating COVID-19 patients with ivermectin did not alleviate the illness or reduce hospitalizations, according to a major double-blind, randomized clinical trial published Wednesday, which effectively rules out the anti-parasitic drug as a treatment. "There's really no sign of any benefit," Dr. David Boulware, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota, tells the New York Times. The study compared 1,358 people infected with COVID-19 in Brazil. Between March and August 2021, half were given ivermectin over three days and the rest were given a placebo; neither the patients nor the medical staff knew what they had been given.
Ivermectin "did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital or prolonged emergency department observation for COVID-19 among outpatients at high risk for serious illness," according to the authors of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, per ABC News. In fact, those who took ivermectin in the first three days after a positive coronavirus test had worse outcomes than those who took a placebo, the Times reports. The study impressed Dr. Andrew Hill, a virologist at the University of Liverpool, who initially saw ivermectin as a potential "transformative treatment" for COVID.
His review of 23 trials involving ivermectin, published in July, concluded the drug lowered one's risk of death from COVID. But when he removed retracted trials and others alleged to be flawed or fraudulent for a second review, published in January, he found no benefit. A third review of studies, including data from this trial, again showed no benefit from ivermectin. Early in the pandemic, the drug showed promise in lab tests on cells but at unsafe concentrations for humans, per the Times. Other trials of the drug's effectiveness against COVID-19 are ongoing, with results expected over the next few months. (Despite Joe Rogan’s endorsement, the CDC, FDA, and AMA all say not to take ivermectin for COVID.)