UPDATE: On April 10, 2020, the U.S. FDA issued a letter warning against use of this drug for treatment of COVID-19 in humans. "Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be safe or effective to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19," the FDA wrote.
Researchers in Australia say head lice drug Ivermectin quickly prevented replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The drug, which has been used to treat and prevent diseases related to parasites in humans, pets, and livestock since the 1980s, was used in a laboratory setting with positive results.
Researchers infected cells with the virus, then exposed them to Ivermectin.
"We showed that a single dose of Ivermectin could kill COVID-19 in a petri dish within 48 hours, indicating potent antiviral activity," says study co-author David Jans, PhD, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Monash University in Melbourne.
Even at 24 hours, "there was a really significant reduction" in the virus, study leader Kylie Wagstaff, PhD, a senior research fellow in biochemistry and molecular biology at Monash University, said in a statement, according to WebMd.
Still, experts say more testing is needed.
"The results are promising," says Katherine Seley-Radtke, PhD, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Jans says the drug is "safe at relatively high doses."
"It is important to stress that no one should try to self-medicate with versions of Ivermectin that are for veterinary purposes or head lice," he says.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.