A group of 30 doctors in Namibia have appealed to the health ministry and the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) to approve Ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapy.
Ivermectin is used to treat or prevent parasites in animals.
In a petition on Monday, 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.
The ministry of health reported 722 new positive cases and 16 deaths yesterday, bringing the total deaths to 936 people.
Ivermectin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet, topical cream, and topical lotion used to treat infections of parasites, which include parasitic infections of the intestinal tract, skin, and eyes both for humans and animals.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms.
In addition, some topical (on the skin) forms of Ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea.
The doctors indicated that there is significant empirical evidence of Ivermectin efficacy worldwide.
The first wave of Covid-19 in India was effectively managed by Ivermectin and later the Indian health council removed the Ivermectin from the Covid-19 treatment, according to the doctors.
“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 while mortality reduction between 53-81%,” read the petition.
They added that it is evident that when the Ivermectin has been withdrawn in India, cases started to rise.
The doctors said the 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.
When approached for comment, the NMRC referred this newspaper to the ministry of health.
Contacted for comment, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said the petition is misdirected, as the ministry does not register medicine.
“The petition is misdirected. The ministry does not register medicines,” he said.
In a March 2021 article, the FDA said, “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.”