Ivermectin has ‘antiviral effect’ against Covid, says Japanese drug company

A Japanese pharmaceutical company has said the controversial drug Ivermectin shows an “antiviral effect” against Omicron and other variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Kowa Co Ltd worked with Kitasato University in Tokyo on a double-blind project study in Covid-19 patients with Ivermectin.

The news was reported yesterday by Reuters, which has partnered with the Associated Press to provide a “fact-checking” service to Twitter to “combat the spread of misinformation”.

Ivermectin, which is normally prescribed to humans and animals as an antiparasitic treatment, is on the World Health Organization’s “Essential Medicines List”.

Its use has been defended by some – including actor and anti-lockdown campaigner Laurence Fox, who recently revealed he was taking the drug after contracting Covid.

And podcast host Joe Rogan also said he took ivermectin – along with monoclonal antibodies, prednisone, vitamin infusion and other treatments – when he had Covid.

However, the WHO has previously said that “current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat patients with Covid-19 is inconclusive” and that it “recommends that the drug be used only in the clinical trial setting”.

And it was previously described as a “drug for animals” by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a Reuters “fact-check” article.

The fact-checked article claims that the covid treatment of Pfizer’s oral antiviral candidate PF-07321332 or PAXLOVID – of which the UK will receive2.75 million doses in 2022 – was “suspiciously similar” to ivermectin.

Both PAXLOVID and Ivermectin have been shown to act as protease inhibitors. This means that they block an enzyme, protease, which organisms such as viruses use to break down proteins.

A Pfizer spokesperson told Reuters: “For Covid-19, protease inhibitors are designed to block the activity of SARS-CoV-2 protease, which is an enzyme the virus needs to multiply. and replicate in the body, and therefore prevent symptoms from getting worse.

“Applying this potent and potent mechanism of action to Covid-19 could alter the course of the pandemic.”

However, a Reuters ‘fact check’ concluded that ivermectin was not the same as Pfizer’s drug because the former – which is no longer under patent and therefore cheaper – “has multiple mechanisms of action on animal and human cells as well as certain fortuitous antiviral activity”, whereas PAXLOVID is a “direct acting antiviral drug”.

A Pfizer spokesperson also denied the link between the drugs, telling Reuters in an email: “Pfizer’s protease inhibitor is not similar to an animal drug and is not the same mechanism.

James C Smith, who retired as Chairman, CEO and Director of Thomson Reuters Corporation in 2020, is currently a member of Pfizer’s Board of Directors.

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