Ivermectin and COVID-19: "You are not a horse, you are not a cow," insists the FDA
Thousands of people have turned to the antiparasitic to cure COVID-19. It has not gone well.
Since the pandemic began, the use of certain medicines to "cure" COVID-19 has become popular. One of the newest to hit Internet back channels is ivermectin, which is used in both animals and humans to treat parasites.
As the FDA itself fully-approved the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, it also sent a strong message through social media to the millions of anti-vaxxers in the country.
“You are not a horse, you are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it,” a post on its Twitter account read.
You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it. https://t.co/TWb75xYEY4
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 21, 2021
This is because, as infections from the Delta variant grow, thousands of people are turning to ivermectin for veterinary use to "treat" the coronavirus.
At the beginning of the pandemic it was speculated that both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, usually used to treat malaria, could be an effective treatment and some experimental studies were carried out, the results were not strong enough to say for sure.
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA have not approved any of these drugs for treating COVID, and even in recent weeks, more in-depth studies have debunked evidence from the first months of the pandemic.
However, in some Latin American countries, and even in India, ivermectin is widely prescribed to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19. According to a New York Times report, while some scientists welcome the treatment, others believe that if it is to be effective, it would require very high doses that are dangerous for humans. In other words, enough ivermectin usually used to treat livestock.
And that's what the FDA's message attempts to address. As thousands of Americans, mostly anti-vax, are taking veterinary ivermectin to prevent and treat coronavirus, they are putting their health at serious risk.
Dr. Peter Hotez, professor of pediatric molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, pointed to a clear relation between anti-vaxxers and those who advocate the use of drugs that are neither tested nor approved for the treatment of COVID-19.
Many thanks to @ChrisJansing for hosting me with @SykesCharlie as we explain the pervasive antivaccine antiscience disinformation from the far right and how it’s pushing many into taking ivermectin in lieu of Covid vaccines and why this will lead many deaths pic.twitter.com/3Yy67g4zd3
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) August 23, 2021
Along with Hoetz, Dr. Frank Courmier, an intensive care physician in Louisiana, one of the states hardest hit by this new coronavirus outbreak, told CBS correspondent David Begnaud about how he has been attacked by relatives of COVID patients in ICU to be treated with ivermectin.
Lafayette Louisiana ICU Dr. Frank Courmier says some Covid patients families have asked him to treat their loved one with ivermectin. Some have yelled at him, insisting it be done. He won’t do it, because, as he tells them, it’s not an effective COVID19 treatment. Hear him out: pic.twitter.com/ppZgawr10I
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) August 24, 2021
For now, the message from the FDA is clear: ivermectin in human doses is used to treat diseases caused by parasites such as rosacea or lice.
“Never use animal medicine on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans."