Tamil Nadu

Ivermectin dropped as COVID-19 drug

The State government revised its COVID-19 case management protocol on Friday, taking the much-debated drug Ivermectin off the list. The Health department had earlier prescribed the drug for three days.

The COVID-19 case management protocol was issued for managing patients at all health facilities other than medical college hospitals/government hospitals/dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.

According to official sources, the drug was taken off the list as a few members of the expert committee objected to its use. Earlier this week, Chief Scientist of World Health Organization (WHO) Soumya Swaminathan had posted on Twitter that safety and efficacy were important when using any drug for a new indication. The WHO opposed the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19, except within clinical trials, she said.

In March too, the WHO noted that “the current evidence on the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive”. Ivermectin, it said, was a broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent included in WHO essential medicines list for several parasitic diseases.

A senior government doctor said, “We decided to take off the drug following the latest warning from the WHO and low evidence for its therapeutic use.”

He noted that the Indian Council of Medical Research had recommended its use in its clinical guidance for management of patients while mentioning it as a therapy based on low certainty of evidence.

Another government doctor said the drug was recommended during the first wave after it showed in vitro anti-viral activity. “It may reduce viral replication and prevent severe disease. We do need more studies,” he added.

New categories

Meanwhile, the Health Department has brought the number of categories from four to three by clubbing category one and two from the earlier protocol.

In category 1, patients are advised home isolation while patients in category 2 (oxygen saturation of 90 to 94 and respiratory rate of 24-30/minute) are admitted at PHCs/COVID-19 Care Centres. In category 3, patients with oxygen saturation of less than 90% and respiratory rate of more than 30/minute would be treated at any health facility and shifted for hospitalisation.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:58:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-drops-ivermectin-as-covid-19-drug/article34561235.ece

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