Argentina’s largest newspaper, Clarin, reported on September 23 about positive results in an ivermectin study, including reduced viral loads, in a study conducted in that nation. Clarin posits that this, “is the first scientific evidence available in the world, which manages to verify the effect of this drug on the coronavirus under in vivo conditions in infected patients.” The results were reported Wednesday from the Ministry of Science and Technology, and followed a four-month effort; the work was conducted by a public-private consortium being led by Alejandro Krolewiecki of the Tropical Diseases Research Institute. Scientists explained that the 0.6 mg/kg dose was three times the amount “usually used.” They said this dose, “produces the fastest and most profound elimination of the virus when treatment is started in the early stages of infection (up to 5 days from the onset of symptoms).”
Awaited Verification Arrives
Studies started in May, after the consortium was chosen for funding. About 6 million pesos was awarded. Testing was done with 45 patients with moderate or mild COVID-19. 30 got the high-dose ivermectin, and the remainder were controls. “Those who received the drug presented an antiviral response significantly different from those not treated, the effect was evidenced in the deeper decrease of virus in secretions”, Krolewieky explicated. He went on, “the most relevant thing is that it is the first study that demonstrates the effect of ivermectin in patients. All over the world a verification was being awaited to establish whether this drug has the potential to treat coronavirus patients.” Experts note that this is a first step, and that we, “will have to carry out other investigations to establish methods of clinical application and the eventual possibility of being used as a prevention tool.”
High Dose, Rapid Virus Elimination
Adrián Lifchitz, professor of Pharmacology at Unicen, was the lead for the study of ivermectin concentrations in plasma samples of the trial subjects. “We found that the medication produced a rapid viral elimination from the body and this helps to reduce the probability of infection. The effect that ivermectin causes on the rate of disappearance of the virus depends on the amount of the drug that is absorbed (amount that enters the organism), after taking it orally. This becomes a proof of concept of high scientific value: it confirms the need to use dose levels higher than those traditionally applied,” according to the Conicet researcher and member of Civetan.
The design, development, and analysis of this study was a public-private cooperation formed by the Veterinary Research Center of Tandil (CIVETAN), UNCPBA-CICPBA-CONICET; the Biotechnological Services Platform-COMTra-National University of Quilmes; the EleaPhoenix SA Laboratory (co-financed the project); the Tropical Diseases Research Institute – National University of Salta – CONICET and the Virology Laboratory of the Garrahan Hospital.
TrialSite notes that article quotations relied on Google Translate.