2 Indian states have said they plan to dose their populations with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to protect against severe COVID-19 infections as their hospitals are overrun with patients in critical condition.
The move by the coastal state of Goa and northern state of Uttarakhand, come despite the World Health Organization and others warning against such measures.
“The current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive,” WHO said in a statement in late March. “Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials.”
Merck, a manufacturer of the drug, has also said available data does not support using the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.
“We do not have enough data to support its use,” said Anita Mathew, an infectious diseases expert in Mumbai.
The state of Goa, a major tourist haven, said earlier this week it plans to give ivermectin to all those older than 18, while the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand announced plans on Wednesday to distribute the tablets to any person over the age of two, except for pregnant and lactating women. (Reuters)