The Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council this week insisted current available data does not support the use of Ivermectin - a drug used to treat parasites in animals – in treating or preventing Covid-19.
“Available studies have limitations in that they were insufficiently powered, using differing dosing regimens, and included various concomitant medications which are confounders to the efficacy of Ivermectin,” registrar of medicines Johannes Gaeseb said in a statement.
“As such, no clear conclusion can be drawn on the clinical efficacy of Ivermectin and safety of Ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19 infection.”
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.
However, according to Gaeseb, the established safety profile of the Ivermectin in human is with doses used in populations treated for the various tropical diseases, lice and scabies.
“The council continues to warn against the use of the veterinary formulation in humans as well as the illegal import and compounding of Ivermectin and Ivermectin containing products for human use. Although it may be premature to absolutely conclude that Ivermectin has no place in Covid-19 treatment, on the basis of current evidence, its use is not recommended at this point. However, the council will continue reviewing emerging evidence and also encourages applications for local clinical trials,” said Gaeseb.
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.
Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Dr Panduleni Itula this week also joined the push for the drug to be considered for Covid-19 treatment.
“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 a remedy for the Covid-19. What is restraining the Namibian government from approving Ivermectin to be used by our doctors to treat?” Itula asked during a livestreamed address.