Thursday, December 2, 2021

Results of govt study on ivermectin as Covid treatment to be tabled soon

Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali says so far there is very limited evidence to support the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19.

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The results of the ivermectin treatment effectiveness test on high-risk Covid-19 patients (I-TECH Study) are expected to be presented to stakeholders of the health ministry by end of this week, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the I-TECH Study, which recruited 500 patients, was now in the final stage of the study analysis.

“So far, the evidence to support the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19 infection is very limited. On July 28, the Cochrane Library issued a statement not supporting the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat Covid-19 based on a systemic analysis of 14 clinical studies involving 1,678 participants.

“The Cochrane Library summarised the need for better quality research data to be published for analysis,” he said during a question-and-answer session.

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain different types of high quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

Noor Azmi was answering a question from Bashir Alias who wanted to know the status of the I-TECH Study carried out by the health ministry and about scientific evidence at the international level as well as measures taken to overcome the problem of ivermectin use at present.

Noor Azmi said there had also been large-scale clinical studies recently involving Covid-19 patients who were not hospitalised and had mild symptoms, such as the testing of ivermectin to prevent the hospitalisation of patients with Covid-19 in Argentina and a joint trial in Brazil which found ivermectin to be ineffective in preventing hospitalisation.

On steps taken to overcome the use of ivermectin, he said the ministry’s Pharmacy Enforcement Division was always monitoring and ensuring health products and medicines marketed are registered with the Drug Control Authority before being sold to the public.

According to him, the Pharmacy Enforcement Division received 175 complaints on ivermectin throughout last year until September 2021.

“Based on verification carried out, a total of 17 premises were raided in 2020 with a total seizure of RM7,193. This year, 43 premises were raided and 17 inspections were carried out, with total seizures amounting to RM124,815,” he said.

He also said that from last year until now, educational efforts had been carried out through the uploading of 128 posters and information on Facebook or social media as well as 10 posters that were specifically related to Covid-19.

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