Ivermectin, a US Food and Drug Administration-approved anti-parasitic agent, was found to inhibit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication in vitro. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to determine the rapidity of viral clearance and safety of ivermectin among adult SARS-CoV-2 patients.
The trial included 72 hospitalized patients in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who were assigned to one of three groups: oral ivermectin alone (12 mg once daily for 5 days), oral ivermectin in combination with doxycycline (12 mg ivermectin single dose and 200 mg doxycycline on day 1, followed by 100 mg every 12 h for the next 4 days), and a placebo control group.
Clinical symptoms of fever, cough, and sore throat were comparable among the three groups. Virological clearance was earlier in the 5-day ivermectin treatment arm when compared to the placebo group (9.7 days vs 12.7 days; p = 0.02), but this was not the case for the ivermectin + doxycycline arm (11.5 days; p = 0.27).
There were no severe adverse drug events recorded in the study. A 5-day course of ivermectin was found to be safe and effective in treating adult patients with mild COVID-19. Larger trials will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.