Slovakia Authorized Ivermectin: Then What Happened?

Slovakia Authorized Ivermectin Then What Happened

TrialSite was able to touch base again with research Ondrej Halgas with the University of Toronto. Back in late January of this year, we reported that Slovakia was the first EU-based nation to formally authorize the use of ivermectin for both prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19 patients. A biomedical researcher, Dr. Halgas has been active in the Slovakian community and provided important insight for that update. TrialSite caught up again with Halgas to learn more about how the administration of ivermectin in Slovakia was coming along. On March 23, TrialSite did report on the situation based on another expat interview and updates from various press sources.  There were reports that at least by late January and early February, many Slovakians were mail ordering supplies of ivermectin, which were stopped at customs, never released to the individuals that made the order. Halgas reports that supplies of ivermectin have improved somewhat and that depending on pharmacy, there was more access, but nowhere near enough to satisfy, the demand based on the recent COVID-19 spike in this part of Europe. In a dynamic and unfolding situation, now as more supply found its way into the country (often severely marked up from say, entrepreneurial Austrian pharmacists), generally, the numbers are now way down, and the hope here is that the country heads toward normalcy. 

Slovakia Goes Way Back

Slovakia only has 5.4 million people and this beautiful and interesting country can be considered a bridge, or a gateway, or possibly more likely a crossroads between central Europe and the far east of Europe in the Ukraine. With a name literally meaning “Land of the Slavs,” human activity here goes far back into prehistory. In fact, more recently but still approximately 20,000 years ago, this land was, according to archeological evidence, a strategy province for trade between the cultures of the Mediterranean and the rest of Central Europe. Since then, many dominant cultures have called Slovakia home, from Celtics to later Dacian and the Roman settlement—in fact, perhaps part of these lands were within the empire and part were considered “Germania.”

But after successive Hun invasions, Slavic settlement started about the 5th Century. Successive societies evolved leading the Great Moravian Empire to Hungary taking over the lands for hundreds of years. After World War 1, Slovakia of today became part of the consolidated Czechoslovakia amid the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Set by the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of Trianon, this new sovereign European state then fell to the Soviet Union after Nazi aggression and the end of World War 2. The end of Communist rule in 1989, part of the peaceful Velvet Revolution leading to split ups and today’s Slovakia finally becoming completely independent in 1993 (Velvet Divorce). To this day, however, Slovakia remains close with the Czech Republic neighbor.

A fascinating, diverse place representing thousands of years of different peoples moving through and living in this area the place is generally considered relatively wealthy as compared to many parts of the world.

A relatively rich economy, GDP per capita is about 78% of the average of the EU by 2018. Regional imbalances remain, not surprisingly the western region known as Bratislava on the Austrian border can be considered a region more aligned with Germanic Europe and GDP per capita is 188% of the EU average making it very rich. While the eastern regions are far poorer, generating 54% GDP per capita as compared to the EU average. By 2017, the OECD reported on the whole country, “The Slovak Republic continues exhibiting robust economic performance, with strong growth backed by a sound financial sector, low public debt and high international competitiveness drawing on large inward investment.”

The Ivermectin Debate

As the COVID-19 pandemic first spiked here in October 2020, with successive spikes in November and January, the conditions degraded, marked by infighting and divisions between political parties as TrialSite discussed in March.  

The pandemic here has been severe—for its small population, the country was experiencing an enormously high infection rate, with a reported 371,062 cases with just 5.4 million people. A reported 10,565 people have died here due to the pathogen.

It was under this growing stress that the ivermectin story emerged. With a lack of widespread access to vaccines by end of 2020 and growing cases, TrialSite reported the embrace of ivermectin there culminating in the formal authorization of use off label by January, 2021. Additionally, the country’s head authorized what was a secretive Russian vaccine purchase riling oppositional parties as there was a growing push for transparency here.

After a review of press and various positions and another interview with Ondrej Halgas, TrialSite concludes that the country’s elite “chatter” class is relatively divided over the use of ivermectin. But the general population is far more pragmatic—at least half of the country is for the use but some polls as discussed below indicate widespread support of ivermectin use.  

The demand for the drug was led first by pragmatic physicians that apparently had read reports of studies around the world, first staring with the in vitro investigations at Monash University but then, of course, the numerous human studies from an important observational effort in Florida to dozens of studies in South Africa, the Middle East (including Israel) to India and Bangladesh. TrialSite’s library of articles serve as reference as can this important reference research site listing all ivermectin studies.   

Local doctors grew increasingly interested with the crisis worsening, and in parallel other regional interest emerged, including the Balkans where Macedonia authorized the use of ivermectin but also interest among at least some major academic medical centers in the Czech Republic, an influential neighbor. There the University Hospital of St. Peter’s and affiliated University Hospital Bnra purchased 20,000 doses of ivermectin as a distribution hub to deliver doses other clinics and pharmacies.

Authorization in Slovakia But…

By late January, even through the government here authorized the use of the drug, there was no central plan nor efficient market apparatus in place to efficiently and effectively allocate supplies of ivermectin. Consequently, TrialSite’s interview back in late March touched on experiences early in January and February of shortages of the product in pharmacies—where many scared residents checking local pharmacies found little to no supply.

Local mayors and village leaders also got into the middle of things, working to broker deals to help local residents.

During this time, medical providers as well as clinics and hospitals sought products from places like India and more recently Austria where the entrepreneurial spirit of that country perhaps turned predatorial as pharmacists near Vienna compound the product, then severely marking up the price for sale back into Slovakia.

And there are reports that even some individuals sought creatively to access the drug by procuring it on holiday, for example, in Egypt and other places.

Dr. Halgas confirmed the dearth of supply in February followed by greater import activity by March. For example, one hospital was able to secure 150,000 packages of the product for distribution there and to others providers. To date, Halgas estimates that perhaps 10,000 Slovakians have been fully treated with an ivermectin regimen, perhaps more.

There are reports that the drug is working. Halgas reported one physician who reported treating at least 80 individuals, tracking their progress thereafter. Local physicians that are using the drug report positive general trends but none of this is based on scientific study. Consequently, there is no way to really measure if the authorization of ivermectin here is actually contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

A Divided Press

In the meantime, the ivermectin discussion caused clashes of opinion here.  While mainstream press tended to avoid the topic or, if they did address any interview, would involve physicians with dismissive positions, citing the recent European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) stance on the topic, while others were quite favorable.  Halgas was interviewed on a local media there to discuss the topic.  Moreover, he shared that at least one local poll revealed that 70% plus of the population was willing to take ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

While the formalized central guidance hasn’t been strong in the country, perhaps this contributed to delegitimizing the use of the drug, at least for those that were on the record against usage targeting the coronavirus.

Censorship

Interestingly, even though the drug has been approved for use in Slovakia, some of the mainstream press (as mentioned) has bought on guests highly dismissive of ivermectin use. Moreover, Slovakians that have gone to Facebook as a way to communicate, especially with expats abroad, such as Halgas himself, are routinely censored and even shut down.

That’s right: even if the drug is authorized in that country, Facebook can and has shut down groups discussing the topic among people that reside in that country. An unprecedented power, an American company literally controlling the discussion, and perhaps even the thought of people in a land halfway around the world.

COVID-19 on the Wane

Thankfully, the residents of Slovakia count declining numbers of cases now throughout the country. Since early March, the numbers are going down. With the latest seven day daily average of 836 new cases per day, that’s down from 2,423 on Mach 5 and 2,569 on New Year’s Eve 2020. The hope is that with more access to the vaccine, smart behavior and perhaps even the use of ivermectin that the pandemic will leave this part of the world, hopefully for good.

Responses

  1. Hello, I am just posting a testimony from my first cousin in the Philippines. Another proof that Ivermectin works. Here’s the story.

    A very good day to everyone. I just want to share my story to all of you. I had Covid19 recently, tested positive last March 31st at Fatima Medical Center at Antipolo City (Manila, Philippines).
    My symptoms started last March 25 with fever, cough, and weakening of my joints, then shortness of breath… I began helping myself by taking over the counter medications and vitamins, then I frequently started the steam inhilation, quarantined myself and continued self medication. Then my doctor prescribed me over the phone an antibiotic cough syrup. My condition remains critical and breathing continues to become more difficult. Hospitals are full anywhere we go but swab test is available at Fatima Hospital so I got tested, two days later, result came positive for Sars-2 COVID-19. I always believe that I can fight and overcome this… I am 54 years old and just had a total left knee replacement/surgery last March 9th. I am not even completely recovered yet and the pain I’m dealing with.
    I have many relatives and friends who were constantly communicating with me thru Facebook and Messenger and are all helping me, sharing what to do and thank God, one of them is Ms. Mylene Ramos, a very good friend of mine, who shared me five of her IVERMECTIN capsules she has when she ordered these for her daughter who was suffering the same fate. I immediately took one capsule of Ivermectin after eating a little food while my condition was worsening and my breathing became hard even with an oxygen tank was next to me. Then I tried to rest… I woke up after six hours and decided to walk around my room. Amazingly, I was breathing a lot better, took off my nasal cannula from my oxygen tank, my fever went down and my coughing subsides… that very quick effect of anti parasitic drug called Ivermectin took over, I felt… I couldn’t wait for the next capsule to take again but I have to wait for another 18 hours as it is prescribed once every 24 hours. I started to eat better and telling everyone that I was feeling better. Then hours later, I took the second capsule. The next day, I felt so much better and regained my strength, my voice came back.. Then after the third capsule of Ivermectin, I was free of any symptoms. I finished all five capsules to assure myself where many also recommend to take all five. I feel that I’m ready to get another swab test although as they all recommend, finish the 14 days of quarantine after symptoms free to assure myself. Thank God for the miracle cure of IVERMECTIN. I really can’t understand on why FDA is taking so much time or prolonging the process of approving this, where they say it’s still under investigations and still under the study for approval. Emergencies are already in front of us… people are already dying and looking for solutions and answers for this pandemic. What’s keeping them(FDA) on hold?
    I hope that Ivermectin becomes available to every pharmacy stores very soon… Thank you again, Ivermectin. Thank God.

    1. Wow, thanks for your testimony. I’ve heard many others about how quickly people recover after taking Ivermectin for COVID.
      (Note: Pregnant women and children should not take IVM. However, It would be safe for them to take Hydroxychloroquine Protocol (must include Zinc; include Azithromycin–must start these 3 NO LATER than the 5th day after symptoms first appear–to be 100% effective. Must use the correct dose. Children have close to zero chance to die from COVID. So unless they have asthma or are immune compromised they wouldn’t need to take anything other than vitamins D3, C, zinc, magnesium and B-12.

      I always take Oil of Oregano at the first sign of cough, sore throat, congestion, headache or feeling sick. (2 drops under the tongue). (Warning: Not to be taken if diabetic, pregnant or lactating.)
      It is anti-VIRAL, anti-bacterial, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antioxidant (and 17 other anti’s.) It tastes terrible and kind of burns (but you can dilute it with water or take capsules–however it isn’t as fast or effective this way. So I prefer to “bite the bullet” for quick relief). You can take it multiple times a day. I also take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 (with this max dose you also need to take some Vitamin K2–or too much calcium gets in your bloodstream; the K2 makes the calcium go into the bones); also take 1000mg Vitamin C (best to not take the ascorbic acid type), Zinc, B-12, magnesium, melatonin and quercetin.

      There are online doctors and pharmacies that can prescribe it (but it could take a while to get it mailed) or they can write a prescription for your local pharmacy. In a pinch ag supply stores sell it (or buy online), which people are warned not to do, but many have done this with no problem. It’s important to use the right amount for your weight.
      Horse: Durvet tube…..each “gear tooth” on the blue plunger is good for your own 50 lb weight increment as a preventative/prophylactic. Meaning…..if you weigh 150 lbs, push out 3 “Teeth” worth, etc. – ¾ gram for 150 lbs. (The dose is 200 mcg/kg.)

  2. Ivermectin does work for patients with low oxygen saturation (<90%). Adding ivermectin inhalations (4 ml of 0.5% ivermectin aqueous solution, repetition interval 48 hours) to standard therapy (Clexane, Famotidine, Dexamethasone, D3) for 18 patients allowed 17 patients to avoid resuscitation.

    1. Bill Gates and his foundation funded the U of Washington study on Hydroxychloroquine soon after President Trump brought up a March 2020 French study that was successful, saying it was hopeful. Then the media, big Pharma and Gates got together and put out fraudulent, misleading studies and fake studies to discredit HCQ. (U of WA bad study: (1) did not include the required ZINC (HCQ opens the cells and the zinc goes in to stop replication of the virus) (2) only gave 1 tablet HCQ a day (nothing else), so also excluded Azithromycin from the study (3) their hospitalized group was given HCQ–where the protocol says to start it no later than the 5th day after the first symptom appears (4) other groups were also given it too late (5) comparing preventative study use, they tested based on the grossly inaccurate fraudulent PCR coronavirus test. This test has up to 100% false positives, depending on how many cycles are used. The CDC had everyone using 40 cycles from the beginning. Only 19 cycles are somewhat accurate. When set to high everyone tests positive (too sensitive a test–so it picks up dead virus, virus fragments and other coronavirus). So no wonder the test group had the same result as the placebo group. The cycles are easily manipulated. The PCR coronavirus test is not even a COVID test. It was made with an old SARS virus. So it is a general coronavirus test (3 strains are mild colds and flu; one strain is MERS; one strain is SARs). The CDC says it doesn’t have a sample of the COVID-19 virus. This virus was never isolated or purified. Does it even exist?

      A consortium of top German scientists got proof that the PCR test being using was totally inaccurate and went to the W.H.O. with proof that Prof. Dresden who created the test, used 45 cycles. The W.H.O. and CDC pulled back slightly one hour after Joe Biden was inaugurated. (Now to be considered a positive COVID case, TWO (2) positive PCR tests are required AND must have COVID symptoms.) I don’t know if the cycles were lowered–it’s hard to dig through all the paperwork to find this. The U.S. had been using 40 cycles.

      He is now funding a study for Ivermectin. You know what that means.

  3. Facebook has become the enemy of truth and free speech, and google is an even bigger one but it hides in the shadows with sophisticated unseen algorithms. The source is of course the same source as all the other conspiracies we have had since 63, the ones everyone tried for years to deny with ridicule as the evidence climbed higher and higher. Its all related folks. Those of us who have been screaming from the rooftops for decades now, even we are stunned at the sudden obvious sinister turns. They are so in your face and unapologetic, a few knowing the truth is no problem now cause they have no voice. Take me for example. I have been fighting a fight very analogous to your fight for Ivermectin, against the same ruling power conglomerate in an old terrorist case from the 80′ and 90’s, all the things I have learned will be very useful and enlightening to those fighting this fight. Unfortunately if you think wacky potion selling cranks is hurting your cause, you should try being labeled tin foil hat, its even more powerful in preventing people for looking, examining, and thinking. But if you of the potion creating crank medicine class can get over the image of tin foil hat and take a long hard and very deep look at one tin foil hat case (unabom), I think you will find it incredibly instructive, and it will probably include a few palms to the forehead with “of course thats how they are doing this”. Good luck and enjoy. You can’t find it on google (big surprise), so in your url bar type in unabombers and add a dot com after. Thats UnA not Uni and its plural. (think about it)