A preliminary study showed that the drug ivermectin can suppress human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, reducing viral load and duration of symptoms in people with mild COVID-19. This is reported in an article published in the journal EClinicalMedicine.
Scientists have tested whether the maximum recommended dose in Europe for the well-known antiparasitic drug ivermectin can affect the transmission of the virus when administered during the first days after the onset of symptoms. The agent is known to reduce the replication of coronavirus in cell lines, but reliable data on its effect on infection in humans have been lacking despite widespread use of the drug in Latin American countries.
In the study, 24 subjects with mild COVID-19 symptoms were given either a single dose of the drug or a placebo within 72 hours of the first symptoms. It turned out that the mean viral load in the group receiving ivermectin was lower (about 3 times lower after four days and up to 18 times lower after seven days after treatment), although the difference was not statistically significant.
Patients who were given the drug also experienced a reduction in the duration of some symptoms (loss of smell and taste by 50 percent and coughing by 30 percent). All patients developed virus-specific IgG antibodies, but the average antibody level in the treatment group was lower than in the placebo group. It also indicates a lower viral load. However, the drug's efficacy needs to be confirmed in larger studies.