The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe is allowing three private hospitals and three private pharmacies to prescribe the anti-parasite Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 under tight controls although there is growing evidence that this particular anti-worm drug has zero effect on Covid-19.
Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic drug that is used to treat several tropical diseases such as onchocerciasis (river blindness), strongyloidiasis and other diseases caused by soil transmitted helminthiasis.
It is also used to treat scabies and the drug is also being evaluated for its potential to reduce the rate of malaria transmission by killing mosquitoes that feed on treated humans and livestock.
While the drug was tried out in Peru before vaccines became available and is wildly popular among Americans who refuse to be vaccinated, the general medical evidence growing around the world is that the laboratory tests that showed it could have some effect on Covid-19 are not being seen in clinical surroundings.
But the MCAZ is willing for the six to, in effect, run clinical trials in Zimbabwe on volunteer patients under strict conditions.
MCAZ projects and public relations officer Mr Shingai Gwatidzo said approval had been granted to Avenues Clinic, Mater Dei Hospital, Datlabs Clinic, Kenlink Pharmacies, Village Pharmacy and Racecourse Pharmacy.
“While there are some studies that suggest potential effectiveness in the prevention and management of Covid-19, the existing data from those studies has a number of limitations, which makes it inadequate to prove effectiveness.
“The framework has therefore been put in place to obtain scientific data that is relevant to the Zimbabwean context. The MCAZ will continue to evaluate any emerging peer reviewed publications or data on the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19. *Herald*