The efficacy of a drug is not officially confirmed until the journal Nature has run a hit piece attacking it.
For ivermectin that was on 20th October, 2020. So many people in South America are using ivermectin now that it is hard to recruit people for clinical trials on the virus.
Ivermectin was discovered in the late 1970s in a program that tested thousands of soil samples around Japan.
A sample from a golf course produced a molecule called avermectin of which ivermectin is a synthetic derivative.
It was approved for human use by the FDA in 1987 and has cured hundreds of millions of people from parasitic worm infections.
It is also used to treat worms in farm animals, dogs and cats. It is quite benign with an 18 hour half-life in the body and a wide therapeutic window.
In April this year a research group at Monash University found that ivermectin inhibited the Wuhan virus in vitro.
So doctors in many parts of the world, for the want of anything at all to treat their patients, started using it and kept using it because it works.
A recent clinical trial of ivermectin in the Argentinian hospital system produced spectacular results.
The study, formally titled “Usefulness of Topic Ivermectin and Carrageenan to Prevent Contagion of COVID Among Healthy People and Health Personnel” had a start date of 1st June, 2020 and an estimated study completion date of 10th August, 2020.
The study team recruited 1,195 health professionals of which 407 received no treatment and 788 self-administered ivermectin oral drops and an iota-carrageenan nasal spray five times per day over a 14 day period. Carrageenan is a food emulsifier extracted from red seaweed.
The Argentinian study team reported that, of the participants in the control group (e.g. not taking the study drug combination), 58% became infected with COVID-19 during the duration of the trial.
No COVID infections were recorded in the carrageenan and ivermectin arm. So the result was 58% out of 407 not taking ivermectin became infected while nobody in the 788 people taking ivermectin were infected with the virus.
The same result was achieved in an informal experiment in a French nursing home which was having an outbreak of scabies which is mites infecting the skin.
Ivermectin was prescribed to all residents as well as to the staff of the nursing home.
While there were widespread casualties in nearby nursing homes, no deaths or severe cases of COVID-19 occurred among the residents and staff of the nursing home with the scabies outbreak.
Molecules with good anti-worm and anti-viral properties also tend to have anti-cancer efficacy.
So it is with ivermectin which has IC50s of 8.1 µg/ml against the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and 9.1 µg/ml against the breast cancer cell line MDA—MB-231.
Anything under 10 µg/ml can be considered to be an anticancer drug. Work using ivermectin on tumours induced in mice produces results similar to this:
The figure above shows the diverging fates of mice injected with the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231.
The circles are the control group with no ivermectin and an increasing tumour burden. The squares represent mice being treated with ivermectin.
Almost a year has passed since the Wuhan virus came to the attention of the public in the Western world. In the US, what was engineered as a bioweapon has produced a result like a big and persistent flu season as shown by excess deaths for the four years 2017 to 2020:
The graph above shows the rhythm of the winter flu season. There were excess deaths, above the orange line, in the 2018 winter.
This brought forward deaths from the following winter which had a much flatter result. Similarly, the excess deaths due to the Wuhan virus, killing largely the same people that winter flu kills, will result in a flatter outcome in 2021.
Some countries such as Sweden chose to go to herd immunity and did it relatively costlessly. The United States tried to eliminate the virus and will end up with herd immunity at great expense.
The various vaccines could make a difference but will have the same effect that Tamiflu had on the flu. Ivermectin will give a similar result but do it far more cheaply and effectively.
Australians are suffering many indignities in the country’s futile attempt to eliminate the virus. Even if that was possible, we are surrounded by countries that will forever be reservoirs of the virus.
We would have to turn into a hermit kingdom like North Korea for that to work. North Korea is currently shooting people crossing the border from China because of the possibility they may be carrying the virus.
Ivermectin for human use is sold as stromectol. Stromectol was approved for human use in Australia in 1996 thanks to an Aboriginal health service.
Scabies had been endemic in Aboriginal communities and there was an urgent clinical need for a better treatment.
For example the East Arnhem Regional Healthy Skin Program reported that more than 70% of children presented in 2002-2005 with scabies, almost all before they reached two years of age.
But as a result the maximum number of tablets you can get with a script is eight. One tablet is usually enough to be rid of scabies.
On the other hand the original research paper from Monash University found that a single treatment was able to effect a five thousand-fold reduction in the viral load at 48 hours in cell culture. So, eight tablets may be enough.
David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia