‘Lower mortality...’: Goa govt defends Ivermectin’s efficacy against Covid-19

The government referred to reports which said that the advice of the WHO to not experiment with Ivermectin, as its efficacy is yet to be proved, is “flawed”.
Goa, June 22 (ANI): Goa CM Pramod Sawant briefs media on the 85-year-old man from Morlem Village who die due to COVID-19 infection, in Panaji on Monday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
Goa, June 22 (ANI): Goa CM Pramod Sawant briefs media on the 85-year-old man from Morlem Village who die due to COVID-19 infection, in Panaji on Monday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
Published on May 28, 2021 01:30 PM IST
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ByGerard de Souza

In defence of its decision to administer Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine for the use as prophylaxis, to Covid-19 patients, the Goa government, in a statement, has claimed that the mortality rate is much lower in patients who take the medicine than those who don’t.

In a statement filed before the Bombay High Court at Goa, which had asked the Goa government to explain its stand on Covid-19, the government referred to reports which said that the advice of the World Health Organization to not experiment with Ivermectin, as its efficacy is yet to be proved, is “flawed”.

“Various studies conducted in different countries have shown that the medicine has a positive effect on prevention and treatment/cure of patients. I say that the studies and reports are available on the website ivmmeta.com... There are some reports which have found that the analysis by WHO on this medicine is flawed and that the mortality rate is actually much lower if the said medicine is used for early treatment as well as prophylaxis,” Goa joint secretary, health, Vikas Gaunekar said in a statement before the Court.

Gaunekar said that the Goa government decided to hand out Ivermectin tablets as prophylaxis on the advice of its expert committee.

“This aspect was discussed by the State Expert Committee for Covid in the meeting held on May 13 under the chairmanship of the health minister [and] also comprising different expert doctors from government and private institutions. I say that after deliberations, it was recommended to use the said medicine once daily for five days to the population over 18 years. However, pregnant/lactating women, as well as those persons with allergy and those having liver/kidney are advised to consult a doctor before taking the medicine,” he added.

The Goa government has decided to administer Ivermectin to all those above the age of 18 with the advice that it should be taken every day for five days as a preventive measure and to prevent severe symptoms in case one contracts the disease.

The decision, however, has been met with bemusement.

“Patients will be treated with Ivermectin 12mg for a period of 5 days. Expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain and Japan, found a large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery and viral clearance in Covid-19 patients treated with Ivermectin,” Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane said when announcing his decision earlier this month.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has advised against the use of Ivermectin among the general population.

“Safety and efficacy are important when using any drug for a new indication. @WHO recommends against the use of Ivermectin for #COVID19 except within clinical trials,” chief scientist, WHO, Soumya Swaminathan said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Merck, a company that manufacturers Ivermectin have also advised against its use in Covid-19 situations.

“Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety. It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified: No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from pre-clinical studies; No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19 disease, and; A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies,” the company said in a statement earlier this year.

Goa’s opposition political parties have now questioned the government calling for “evidence” that the drug works.

“The World Health Organisation has advised that Ivermectin only be used to treat Covid-19 within clinical trials. This information is available on the official website of WHO. Now, the question comes who authorised the health minister to decide on this prophylaxis treatment? The BJP government must explain to the people of Goa,” state Congress president Girish Chodankar said.

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