Japanese pharmaceutical company claims ivermectin has ‘antiviral effect’ against Covid

A Japanese pharmaceutical company said the controversial drug Ivermectin showed “antiviral effect” against Omicron and other variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus in joint non-clinical research.

Kowa Co Ltd, which worked with Kitasato University in Tokyo to test the drug, did not provide further details.

The news was reported by Reuters, which incorrectly said ivermectin was “effective” against Omicron in phase III clinical trials, which are being conducted in humans.

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.

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

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”.

The drug is not approved for the treatment of Covid in Japan, and the US Food & Drug Administration, World Health Organization, EU medicines regulator and Merck (MRK. N), which makes the drug, warned against its use due to a lack of scientific evidence that it has a therapeutic effect.

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

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