Where the Ivermectin craze came from, and why doctors say it doesn’t work

ORLANDO, Fla. — The word “Ivermectin” exploded onto the public’s radar over the past few months, quickly going from niche parasite pill to a COVID treatment “they” wouldn’t tell you about.

The difference between many of the other so-called alternative treatments during the pandemic and this is that the others emerged from politicians or shady web blogs. Ivermectin’s rise began in a scientific study.

READ: Florida’s ‘vaccine passport’ ban will be enforced starting this month

After initially shocking the research community, the study is now retracted under investigation for data manipulation. Doctors and scientists warn that Ivermectin doesn’t work against COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ivermectin’s rise began in a study that claimed it was 90% effective at preventing COVID deaths and very effective at preventing the virus altogether. The study was published, but not peer reviewed.
  • Quickly, scientists noticed issues with the data behind the study. Participants were not randomized and information about some of them appeared to be manipulated. Many patients appeared to be duplicated or fabricated completely. The dataset’s formatting was also inconsistent, and some portions of the data did not match other, corresponding sections.
  • Most telling, observers noted that three quarters of the supposed study participants had ages that ended in even numbers, a feat they said was statistically impossible.
  • The study was withdrawn and is now under investigation for data manipulation, but the damage was already done. Other sources cited it, including far-right and far-left bloggers and influencers who cast doubt on mainstream science.
  • Why do doctors and scientists doubt Ivermectin? “A parasite is different from you and me, and its metabolic pathways are different from you and me,” Nemours’ Dr. Kenneth Alexander said. “We can poison those metabolic pathways without poisoning our own. Viruses, on the other hand, use our cells to copy themselves, so there are very few ways we can poison a virus without poisoning ourselves.”
  • Alexander said antiviral drugs are in development to treat coronavirus, but he pointed out that humans have traditionally been bad at designing them. He cited the fact that TamiFlu’s success rate against the flu was, at best, questionable, and was mostly used for lessening symptoms.
  • Alexander said humans’ most effective tool against COVID-19 was vaccinations. Costing $40 per two-dose series, he said they were better, pound-for-pound, than a $1,500 monoclonal antibody treatment. “An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure,” he said. “Vaccination is your ounce of prevention. All these drugs are your pound of cure.”

READ: Monoclonal treatment leading to fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida, officials say

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