The debate over the “horse dewormer” may get renewed attention after the results of a study in Brazil.

Last week scientists there released a study that found ivermectin, when used as a prophylactic instead of a treatment, reduced deaths from COVID-19 by 92 percent, if the drug was used regularly compared to not taking it at all.

Researchers defined regular use as consuming 180 milligrams over the course of five months. The study also included “irregular” users, who consumed 60 milligrams over the study period, and non-users.

Ivermectin also helped slow infections and hospitalizations, the study found.

Among regular users, COVID infections were down 49 percent compared to nonusers, and hospitalizations were slashed by 100 percent.

While the mortality rate was down 92 percent, the risk of dying was 86 percent lower for regular users.

Recent news reports have focused on a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that looked at the effects of COVID on three medications, including ivermectin. The controversial drug was ruled ineffective in preventing hospitalizations.

Yet that study analyzed ivermectin as a treatment rather than a prophylactic.  

Other studies of ivermectin’s use in Africa – where it is routinely used as a prophylactic – have indicated that using it that way helped slow the spread of COVID.

One of the Brazil study’s authors, Dr. Flávio Cadegiani, a board-certified endocrinologist, said of the results on Twitter: “An observational study with the size and level of analysis as ours is hardly achieved and infeasible to be conducted as a randomised (sic) clinical trial. Conclusions are hard to be refuted. Data is data, regardless of your beliefs.”

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