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Ivermectin: A Potential Game-Changer or Controversial Choice in the UK?

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In recent times, the U.K. has reported a surge in Covid cases, with the 18-44 age groups seemingly most affected by the problem. The WHO has recently highlighted a new Covid variant, JN.1, an offshoot of the omicron subvariant that, despite being described as low-risk, has made up 7% of total positive cases in the nation. Data released by the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency has further recorded a 1.8% increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 since November, with London being the worst affected region. 

Unfortunately, Covid is not the only problem. 

A 2020 study conducted by NICE ( National Institute of Health and Care Excellence ) has recorded an increasing incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the U.K., with 1% of the nation having a confirmed diagnosis of the condition. Approximately 1.5 men in 10000 and 3.6 women in 10000 develop RA per year, along with 0.1% of the children. 

The growing need of the hour is a medication with a wide spectrum of uses, and for both COVID and RA, Ivermectin UK can be regarded as among the few medications that work equally effectively for either problem. 

A word on Ivermectin 

In a double-masked trial conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Ivermectin for COVID-19 conditions, 867 patients diagnosed with the virus were enrolled in a survey. The subjects were administered Ivermectin or placebo for three days and subjected to non-hospitalised settings.


Image Credithttps://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(22)00399-X/fulltext

Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained and evaluated every two days for the next six days. Results were evaluated based on a reduction in viral load on the sixth day. Out of the eight hundred and sixty-seven patients screened, 89 patients were evaluated per protocol that consisted of forty-seven ivermectin subjects and forty-two placebo subjects. 

On the sixth day, clinicians observed a significant odds ratio of 2.62 in the Ivermectin group, with the majority of subjects administered it showing a positive impact on the medication. In simple terms, the odds of significantly reduced viral load were 2.28 times higher in the Ivermectin group than the placebo group on the sixth day and further improved by the eighth day. 

The study concluded that there were lower viral loads and less viable cultures in the Ivermectin group, demonstrating its anti-SARS-COVID activity. It had the potential to reduce viral transmission and prevent hospitalizations of Covid positive patients. 

The study concluded that there were lower viral loads and less viable cultures in the Ivermectin group, demonstrating its anti-SARS-COVID activity. It could potentially reduce viral transmission and prevent hospitalizations of COVID-19-positive patients. 

How does Ivermectin work on COVID-19 virus strains?

While there are numerous theories demonstrating the impact of Ivermectin molecules on the viral strains, the most widely accepted theories are its ability to target the host importing  α/β1 nuclear transport proteins responsible for nuclear entry of cargoes of viral proteins, which in turn block the host antiviral activity. 

Additionally, It has also been observed to interfere with the SARS-Cov-2 cell entry into the host body by forming a protective shield and preventing the spike proteins of the barriers and interrupting them from binding with the ACE-2 receptors regarded as the gateway of entry of the virus inside the body.

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Image Credithttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41429-021-00491-6

An important aspect that we need to understand is that once the COVID-19 virus enters the system, it starts replicating and hampering the other organs’ operating mechanisms, resulting in eventual multiple organ failure. In this regard, Ivermectin, in addition to preventing them from entering the system, inhibits the virus from interacting with the non-structural proteins and replicating further.

The issue with Ivermectin usage in Covid conditions 

The most important issue with its usage in Covid conditions is the dosage that is required to suppress the replication and overall damage caused by the virus. An in vitro study conducted by researchers demonstrated that five µM ivermectin is sufficient to cause a five thousand-fold reduction in the viral RNA within forty hours. 

Unfortunately, the strength is far above the normal required dose of it and can result in its accumulation in the lungs. 

One of the biggest hurdles in the usage of Ivermectin for COVID-19 conditions is the varied opinions about its safety and effectiveness potential for COVID-19 conditions. A study conducted by University of Oxford-affiliated researchers states that Ivermectin has very little antiviral activity against the Sars-Covid Virus and cannot be considered a reliable option for preventing hospitalizations or systemic complications because of the virus. 

The FLCCC ( Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance ) strongly supports the use of Ivermectin as a valuable treatment option for COVID-19 and vouches for its anti-inflammatory properties to diminish viral load and protect against organ damage based on animal models. 

Ivermectin for immunocompromised Covid patients 

Immunocompromised patients are more susceptible to COVID-19 conditions because harmful COVID variants are more likely to be created in areas of immunocompromised patients. The reason is that immunocompromised patients struggle more than other COVID patients to fight and completely clear the infection, thus enabling it to persist in lower volumes and mutate with time. 

Additionally, immunocompromised individuals are not optimally protected by COVID-19 vaccines and potentially require additional preventive interventions to mitigate the risk of severe COVID-19.

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Image Credit – https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(23)00166-7/fulltext#:~:text=Overall%2C%20immunocompromised%20individuals%20accounted%20for,COVID%2D19%20deaths%20in%202022.

Unfortunately, there is very scant or no information about Ivermectin usage in immunocompromised patients. A few trials comparing Ivermectin usage combined with standard of care and those administered placebo have reported worsening of symptoms with the requirement for mechanical ventilation and, at times, death in moderate to severe Covid conditions. Other animal studies have shown the effectiveness of Ivermectin in treating Toxoplasma-induced cystic brain lesions of immunocompromised mice but failed to demonstrate its efficacy in immunocompromised COVID patients. 

Considering the statistical evidence that immunocompromised individuals comprise 3.9% of the population of the UK, are responsible for 22% of Covid-19 hospitalizations, 28% of Covid related ICU admissions, and 24% of Covid related deaths despite the majority having received more significant than three doses of the Covid vaccine, the uncertainty of Ivermectin in such conditions weakens its role as a potential Covid savior drug.

Let us talk about Ivermectin use for Rheumatoid Arthritis conditions. 

In contrast to its uncertain role in COVID-19 treatment, Ivermectin has shown extremely positive response as a treatment option for Rheumatoid arthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory condition that causes the immune cells to attack healthy cells, resulting in inflammation in affected parts of the body. The condition impacts approximately 400,000 people in the UK and has lifelong repercussions on the quality of their lives. 

While corticosteroids are considered the primary treatment option for Rheumatoid arthritis, long use can result in spondylitis and other associated complications. Animal studies have proved Ivermectin to have significant antiarthritic properties and can be a great option for rheumatoid arthritis patients with strongyloidiasis complications. 

Let us talk about Ivermectin use for Rheumatoid Arthritis conditions. 


Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum medication used in a wide range of inflammatory, parasitic, and, at times, viral conditions. However, data regarding its effectiveness in COVID-19 conditions is unreliable, so its use in COVID-19 cases should be conducted strictly under physicians’ guidance. 

Its use in COVID settings comes in handy in the unavailability of other treatment options or when searching for an affordable treatment option. But even then, they work best in the early phase of Covid infection.

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