Coronavirus

‘Don’t do it’: Dr. Fauci warns against using ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19

"There’s no evidence whatsoever that works and it could potentially have toxicity."

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, before the start of a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg

Federal health agencies and officials across the country are warning people not to take ivermectin — a drug used to treat parasites in livestock — to treat and prevent COVID-19.

According to The Boston Globe, poison control centers in at least a dozen states have reported an increase in calls related to ivermectin ingestion. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s no evidence it works, and that it’s more likely to cause harm.

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“Don’t do it; there’s no evidence whatsoever that it works and it could potentially have toxicity… with people who have gone to poison control centers because they’ve taken the drug at a ridiculous dose and wind up getting sick,” he said. “There’s no clinical evidence that indicates that this works.”

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Dr. Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown University, told CNN that vaccines and monoclonal antibodies are the only confirmed methods of preventing COVID-19. Ivermectin, she said, is not a “miracle cure.”

“I want to be really clear, there is no data supporting that ivermectin prevents or cures COVID-19,” she said. “Unfortunately, the promotion for this drug has spread like wildfire among conspiracy theorists and people who are out to make a profit and we’re seeing people buy it from vets and take it themselves with really serious consequences. Another example of the very real harm of misinformation.”

Ivermectin first received attention last year when a study showed that ivermectin inhibited the replication of COVID-19 “in vitro,” or in a laboratory setting. In April 2020, the FDA wrote that the type of study was “commonly used in the early stages of drug development” and that ivermectin was not given to people or animals.

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On Aug. 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted an emergency health advisory about the “rapid increase in ivermectin prescriptions and reports of severe illness” associated with its use. On Aug. 21, the FDA tweeted out a blunt recommendation when it comes to ivermectin: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

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