Ivermectin and like drugs are immediately needed, not to compete with vaccines, but to complement them

Ivermectin and like drugs are immediately needed, not to compete with vaccines, but to complement them. By Dr Robert Clancy,  developer of a vaccine in 1985, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle’s School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy.

As one of the senior clinical immunologists in Australia, and the only one whose research has focussed on mucosal immunology and host-parasite relationships at mucosal surfaces in man (squarely relevant to Covid-19 infection), I find the current disinformation with respect to early treatment of Covid-19 infection beyond my understanding and without precedent in 50 years of practise. …

The situation that defies logic and sense is that, on one hand, repositioned drugs with Pharma support (and patents) focussed on RNA polymerase such as Remdesivir that has failed repeated randomised controlled trials (RCT’s) yet continues to be used in our intensive care units at $4,000-$5,000 a course, while on the other, safe, cheap and effective repositioned drugs without patents that focus on changing the way cells process infectious agents, with numerous supporting RCT’s, are dismissed.

The cynicism of Merck having publicly dismissed ivermectin the day before it announced a $US300 million government grant to develop an “early treatment”, starting its “rolling registration” around the world (our TGA last week) for son-of Remdesivir, the repositioned “Molnupirivir”, as a “breakthrough” oral treatment (recently sold to the US government before its trials are completed at $1,000 per course), is not lost on anyone.

I wrote 8 months ago that the biology of Covid-19 infection dictates that while the parenteral genetic vaccines available to us will be important in short term Covid control, they will have little impact on infection, will be short in duration, and that antigen drift will create variants that will severely compromise efficacy. They will settle along influenza-vaccine lines. Moreover, genetic vaccines by stimulating uncontrolled synthesis of spike protein will cause highly concerning adverse events of a short and long-term nature that we can only surmise at this stage.

All these outcomes have come about. My point was, and is, that ivermectin and like drugs are immediately needed, not to compete with vaccines, but to complement them: to reduce community spread; to treat early disease; to reduce progression to severe disease requiring admission to hospital and possible death; and to reduce the growing community repository of “long Covid” .

Making ivermectin available across the Covid community now will shorten the current community crises where infection is out of control, will be synergistic with the vaccine programme facilitating movement through the planned stages, and greatly facilitate our reconnect with the world outside the bubble.

The question almost every experienced clinician is asking in Australia is ‘we have a problem that we are doing nothing for, one that is threatening the very fibre of our nation, and vaccines are looking a little iffy. There is a drug available for early treatment of Covid-19 with more evidence supporting its safety and efficacy than there is for most drugs I use every day. Why are we not using this drug? What on earth has my patient got to lose?’ Where is the leadership? …

Yesterday the British Medical Journal asked me to review a paper showing rapid virus clearance following IVM. In normal times, given the many studies showing exactly that, the paper would be rejected on the basis that the information is not new. It will probably be rejected this time on political and ideological grounds.

Profits and ideology are a powerful but toxic brew. The situation is similar in climate.

hat-tip David Archibald