Ivermectin: Lagos turns to ‘promising’ drug in fight against coronavirus

Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu says the state has added Ivermectin to its arsenal against the coronavirus.

The drug, according to WebMD, “is used to treat certain parasitic roundworm infections.

“Curing parasitic infections helps to improve your quality of life. In people with weakened defense (immune) systems, curing roundworm infections can reduce the risk of developing a severe or life-threatening infection.

“Ivermectin belongs to a class of drugs known as antihelmintics. It works by paralyzing and killing parasites.”iver

According to Drugs.com, Ivermectin is being “investigated as a treatment for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The trials so far have shown ivermectin reduces the number of cell-associated viral DNA by 99.8 % in 24 hours.

“Further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this medicine in humans with COVID-19.”

The drug has been around for a long time. It can be used to treat head lice, scabies, river blindness, strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis, and lymphatic filariasis. Experts warn against self-medication.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos turned to Ivermectin after studying various clinical trials that showed the drug could be effective in the early treatment of COVID-19.

“The State Government is aware of numerous international claims that the broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent/medication Ivermectin has shown some efficacy in acting as a sustained prophylaxis in containing/inhibiting the causative virus in SARS-CoV-2,” he said.

“While this medication has not yet been approved for the broad treatment of the Coronavirus disease, the State Government has, however, taken the bold step of ensuring we have adequate stocks of Ivermectin, which will be initially deployed in a short clinical trial to ascertain its efficiency in our population to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.”

The governor encouraged anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough, cold, inability to smell or taste, headaches or general body weakness — to reach out to the state’s free telemedicine service, EKOTELEMED.

“EKOTELEMED is manned by well-trained medical personnel, and is available on a toll-free line, 08000EKOMED (08000356633),” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said coronavirus testing is free but cannot be used for travelling purposes.

“Anyone wishing to test as a requirement for either outbound or inbound travel or other work-related requirements must do so at any of the 21 private laboratories accredited by Lagos State for COVID testing,” he said.

The governor enjoined Lagos residents to take COVID-19 guidelines like mask wearing and social distancing seriously as the state continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus in Nigeria.

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