The Slovakia Republic’s Minister of Health has formerly registered Ivermectin as an approved prophylaxis and treatment for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. In breaking news, the authorization occurred yesterday as doctors received the news that they could proceed with formally authorized prescriptions both in hospitals and outpatient. On January 26, Health Minister Marek Krajci granted a permit for the unregistered drug as the drug has already been in use on a compassionate basis over the past half year. TrialSite interviewed Ondrej Halgas, a researcher from University of Toronto and originally from Slovakia. Halgas has been actively involved with a network organizing and lobbying for the drug’s approval during the pandemic. This landlocked Eastern European nation of 5.4 million people, a member of the European Union since 2004, just made history.
The actual authorization was the result of networks of health care professionals, journalists and other health care activists who have been working diligently to raise awareness as to the mounting efficacy data in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, Ondrej Halgas and the TrialSite Network dovetails nicely with the COVID-19 Front Line Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) and other academics, journalists and physicians working to raise awareness about this important therapeutic option during the pandemic.
Slovakia the First EU Nation to Authorize Ivermectin
The antiparasitic drug was authorized by the Health Minister after a formal request from professor Ivan Schréter, CSc, the Chief Expert for Infectious Disease with the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. A conditional authorization, TrialSite interprets that the registration is valid for a six (6) month period for hospitals and ambulatory care for the indication of prophylaxis and treatment of patients with COVID-19. The medicine will also be available at licensed prescription pharmacies.
The Path to Approval
A scientist from University of Toronto, Ondrej Halgas, expressed pride that his home country was able to become the very first nation in Europe to formally approve this drug as a complement to vaccines and other treatments. In an interview with TrialSite’s Daniel O’Connor, Halgas shared he has been collaborating with physicians such as Dr. Pierre Kory and Paul E. Marik as well as others. In Germany, apparently Ivermectin use has grown, reports Halgas. He was in touch with a physician group there that treated the elderly at a nursing home.
The mortality rate in nursing homes in that European country (Germany) is about 25% to 30%. After treating about 100 residents with Ivermectin, that rate in one case series apparently went down to about 5%—a huge difference. Of course, this isn’t the result of a formal study but nonetheless represents more real world data points.
Ondrej Halgas reports that supply is another matter. Unlike in many other EU countries, such as Austria, in Slovakia, Ivermectin was available only for animals and as a cream for humans. To date, at least one hospital in the nation’s second largest city has been influential in the importance of the drug under some waiver. They have seen markedly improved results, according to Halgas.
This latest edict by the Health Minister now allows for the importation. Doctors and hospitals have been importing the drug from Austria and even as far away as India, and it’s not clear how the country’s predominantly national health system will work to efficiently and effectively import the drug. Presently, the country has three payers, including one national payer and two private sector groups.
The importation is an area that TrialSite will continue to monitor.
Call to Action: TrialSite predicts that more nations will authorize this drug for use as prophylaxis and treatment targeting COVID-19 at least for the duration of the pandemic. Sign up for the daily newsletter for updates.