Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Dr Panduleni Itula yesterday urged government to put politics aside and legalise the use of Ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites in animals, to treat Covid-19 patients.
The commonly used antiparasitic Ivermectin is being touted as a miracle cure for Covid-19 by doctors and campaigners the world over.
Demand for approval of the drug is growing globally – with some countries recommending Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus patients – despite leading health authorities consistently warning against its use. The drug, which was discovered in 1975 and commercialised in the early 1980s, came into the Covid-19 picture after Australian researchers last year reported it could inhibit in vitro coronavirus replication in large doses.
Commonly used to treat parasites in animals and head lice in humans, the drug has now been permitted as a treatment for Covid-19 patients in several of the worst-hit countries, including Slovakia, the Czech Republic and swathes of Latin America.
“At a time, we are in a desperate situation; there will be no harm in treating people with a drug that is known somewhere else as remedy for the Covid-19. What is restraining the Namibian government from approving Ivermectin to be used by our doctors?” Itula questioned.
“This is not a situation where politics must now triumph. This is a situation where we need to think logically as citizens – as people who belong to the human race to be able to stamp out the death that is now knocking at the doors of almost every single house.”
A group of 30 doctors in Namibia last week appealed to the health ministry and the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) to approve Ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapy. In a petition last week, the doctors indicated that since Namibia is currently experiencing the most intensive and lethal wave of Covid-19, it is proven that Ivermectin can reduce rising figures.
“A very recent meta-analysis of 58 studies demonstrated 78% improvement in patients treated early in the course of Covid-19 infections, 46% improvement in patients treated in the advanced stages of infection and mortality reduction between 53-81%,” read the petition.
The doctors added that it is evident that when the Ivermectin has been withdrawn in India, cases started to rise. They said Ivermectin side effects are infrequent and usually mild.
“We believe that any medicine or drug with potential effects should be prescribed by a qualified and registered doctor, who will monitor the therapy and provide his patient with help and support as per the current standards of good medical practice,” they said.
They further explained that granting emergency approval to use Ivermectin in the management of Covid-19 will eliminate the need for patients to self–medicate with the drug without any supervision or medical advice. “As doctors, we cannot simply stand by and watch our patients become breathless, get oxygen-dependent, suffer or die when there is an effective, safe and cheap drug at hand that could save lives, prevent hospitalisation and help us to beat this terrible infection,” the doctors wrote. The ministry of health last week said Ivermectin has not been submitted to the NMRC for approval in Namibia.