Does the anti-parasitic Ivermectin work in actual human studies versus the Petri dish in vitro studies, when treating coronavirus COVID-19 infection? And if so, is it safe in humans?
An in vitro study was done.
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This in-vitro study reveals exciting data regarding Ivermectin, which is typically used for treatment of scabies.
I was unable to find any clinical data to support use of Ivermectin for COVID-19. But this study definitely supports starting a clinical trial given the widespread availability of Ivermectin. Overall ivermectin is well-tolerated in both children and adults, with rash being one of the most common side effects. It may have fewer severe adverse effects than hydroxychloroquine, which can cause fatal arrhythmias like Torsades de Pointes(though this is more with chronic use; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16615675). This supports ivermectin as a good candidate drug to study.
It is important to note, however, that many drugs that have shown to be effective in-vitro will fail to produce any clinical benefit when given to animals or humans. For instance, for ebola virus, chloroquine was effective in-vitro but not in guinea pigs (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26459826). There are many factors that could contribute to these discrepancies, including issues with bioavailability, distribution to the appropriate tissues, entrance into cells, and breakdown of the drug by cellular or viral mechanisms.