People Who Received Ivermectin Were Better Off, Study Finds

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Mar 08, 2024 - 11:30 AM

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People who tested positive for COVID-19 and took ivermectin as a treatment recovered faster than a comparison group, a new study found.

The time to self-reported recovery was a median of two days faster among the ivermectin recipients, according to the large UK study.

The quicker recovery period was statistically significant.

People who received ivermectin were also less likely to be hospitalized or die, with 1.6 percent of ivermectin recipients being hospitalized or dying versus 4 percent of the comparison group, which received typical care, which in the UK is largely focused on managing symptoms.

Ivermectin recipients also enjoyed a reduction of severe symptoms and sustained recovery, according to the study.

The paper was published by the Journal of Infection on Feb. 29.

The study covered an open-label trial that involved 2,157 ivermectin recipients and 3,256 who received typical care from June 23, 2021, to July 1, 2022. Participants were randomized and reported symptoms and recovery.

Researchers Say Findings Don’t Support Using Ivermectin

The authors, including Christopher Butler, a University of Oxford professor and joint chief investigator of the trial, downplayed the positive findings in part because the hazard ratio of 1.14 was lower than what authors pre-specified as a meaningful ratio, or 1.2. Hazard ratios are a way to determine whether a treatment is beneficial.

The authors also focused on the lack of differences in the number of days participants felt sick in the previous two weeks, impact on work, and likelihood of using the health care system at 3, 6, and 12 months following treatment.

“Overall, these findings, while evidencing a small benefit in symptom duration, do not support the use of ivermectin as treatment for COVID-19 in the community among a largely vaccinated population at the dose and duration we used,” the authors said.

Funding for the research came from the UK government.

Conflicts of interest included one researcher receiving grants from pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, and other authors receiving grants from the University of Oxford.

The trial, known as PRINCIPLE, was touted by investigators as “the world’s largest clinical trial of possible COVID-19 treatments for recovery at home and in other non-hospital settings.”

“Ivermectin is readily available globally, has been in wide use for many other infectious conditions so it’s a well-known medicine with a good safety profile, and because of the early promising results in some studies it is already being widely used to treat COVID-19 in several countries,” Dr. Christopher Butler, a University of Oxford professor and joint chief investigator of the trial, said when it was announced ivermectin would be assessed. “By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like PRINCIPLE, we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against COVID-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use.”

Doctors Weigh In

Dr. Pierre Kory, an American physician who was not involved in the trial, said that the authors wrongly downplayed how ivermectin improved recovery from COVID-19.

“PRINCIPLE was a profoundly positive study that was instead analyzed and written up as a negative one,” Dr. Kory, who has long promoted ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, wrote in an essay.

He accused the authors of undertaking “statistical chicanery” by coming up with the pre-specified hazard ratio (HR), noting that no such level was used in other parts of the PRINCIPLE trial.

“A hazard ratio does not need a pre-specified level. If the HR is > 1.0, and it is statistically significant, it is a robust finding,” he said.

The positive findings should also be interpreted in the context of recipients only receiving one dose per day across three days and being directed not to eat food before ivermectin, Dr. Kory said.

Dr. Butler and his co-authors said “no food should be taken two hours before or after administration” despite previous research finding that taking ivermectin with food increases plasma concentration.

Participants also received ivermectin a median of five days after symptom onset, a period of time considered by some to be too late to have much of an impact. Ivermectin works best when applied within 24 hours of symptom manifestation, according to a meta-regression of ivermectin studies.

Dr. Butler did not respond to a request for comment.

There have been additional studies that found ivermectin worked against COVID-19. The drug, commonly used for purposes such as combating malaria, has divided scientists since 2020, when doctors around the world began using it to treat COVID-19.

Some other research, including a U.S. trial, has found that ivermectin did not improve time to recovery.

Dr. David Boulware, another American doctor, who helped run that trial, argued on X that the faster recovery recorded in the UK trial was similar to the quicker recovery reported in an open-label trial of molnupiravir, an antiviral sometimes used to treat COVID-19.

“Molnupiravir also had a 2 day faster improvement in symptoms over ‘usual care’ yet no benefit existed in double-blind trial,” Dr. Boulware said on X. “Placebo effect influences self-reported symptoms.”