TrialSite has chronicled Ivermectin cases around the world. In February of this year, we published “SAHPRA’s Article 21 Process too Lengthy: Activist Group Makes More Court Moves to Access Ivermectin Faster for COVID-19 Patients in South Africa.” Now, there has been a resolution: as reported by CapeTalk, Doctors in South Africa can now prescribe the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19, the North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) previously approved the use of the drug on certain compassionate grounds, depending on the outcome of a “Section 21” application to SAHPRA. Now, however, doctors would not have to wait on the outcome of the application before starting to treat patients with Ivermectin.
High Court Battle
AfriForum brought the case to court along with Dr George Coetzee, a General Practitioner who sought direct access to the medication.
The use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is controversial, but there have been some positive indications of its efficacy. Ivermectin is registered in South Africa for use in animals only.
Lester Kiewit interviewed Kevin Brandt, a journalist from EWN who has been following this story. Kiewit asked Brandt, “With this ruling, how do doctors now plan to source Ivermectin into South Africa?” He replied that “there’s a list of licensed manufacturers,” making the drug available to the healthcare professionals as that is now “the obvious legal process.”
Brandt also adds that “The health professional will have to report any side effects or any adverse reactions to the drug… so it’s a very monitored process under which the drug will be made available for very specific patients.”
Kiewit also spoke to Burtram Fielding, a virologist at the University of the Western Cape. In regards to Ivermectin, Kiewet asks, “What does it actually do to help treat COVID-19?”
Fielding responded that “There are some laboratory studies that show that Ivermectin somehow interferes with the replication of the virus in the cell. So the virus cannot make more of itself. So there can still be infection, but the infection cannot spread in the human body.”
Call to Action: This interview highlights the importance of having more treatment options, especially when it comes to prophylaxis treatment. There is hope now for patients that are at the earlier stage of the virus. For future updates on the impact of Ivermectin use in Africa, sign up for TrialSite’s newsletter.