The government of Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India, has declared that the use of Ivermectin as a “Prophylactic and therapeutic” has not only lowered transmission and infection rates but has also served to reduce the COVID-19 death rate as well. It’s been a year since the first cluster of five (5) cases was reported in Agra, and recently, the Health Department has shared positive results with the ongoing program. TrialSite shared August last year that the most populated Indian state embraced Ivermectin as a COVID-19 therapy and prophylactic while no Western press bothered to touch the subject. More recently, TrialSite reported that ivermectin has been included in the national COVID-19 guidance due in part to positive outcomes now emerging. Again, there hasn’t been a peep from the West. Uttar Pradesh was an early mover, embracing a protocol using both the anti-parasite drug as well as Doxycycline for use as a prophylactic and as a therapeutic tool targeting COVID-19. Clinical trials in Bangladesh using a similar protocol were producing results last summer as well. Now the Uttar Pradesh health department shared recently that it also plans on conducting a controlled study once this second wave of the pandemic wanes.
During the summer of 2020, while the first waves of the pandemic ravaged various countries, several case series, observational studies, and small clinical trials were taking place in both India and Bangladesh. TrialSite was at the forefront covering these activities, including a series of interviews and an ongoing chronicling of these studies.
An interview with Dr. Tarek Alam with the Bangladesh Medical College revealed profound insight into positive outcomes associated with what he referred to as “the people’s medicine” in Bangladesh. This regimen included both Ivermectin and Doxycycline. But the data looked good; the lack of large randomized controlled studies hindered any broad base acceptance in the West even though several studies were promising.
Last summer, the outcomes were surfacing everywhere: even in America, TrialSite reported on a couple of Broward County physicians’ case series indicating that ivermectin reduced the COVID-19 death rate.
Uttar Pradesh Timeline
Back on August 6, 2020, as reported in The Indian Express, the Uttar Pradesh Health Department, led by Dr. Anshul Pareek, Director General, Medical and Health Services, became the first state across India to declare ivermectin in a large-scale prophylactic program with a focus on 1) close contracts of COVID-19 patients, 2) health workers, and 3) general care of COVID-19 patients.
The impetus for this program started earlier in May through June 2020 when Dr. Pareek and team used ivermectin to treat a rapid response team of healthcare workers in Agra. The health officials observed that even though this group was in daily contact with ill patients, none of those administered with ivermectin became infected with the coronavirus, reports Vikssendu Agrawal, Uttar Pradesh State Surveillance Officer. The local team’s findings in Agra led the state government to accept the use of the regimen for all COVID-19 patients and over time established the optimal dosages for COVID-19 patients.
The health officials here are certain that Ivermectin was a significant factor in lowering the infection transmission rates even in such a densely populated region. Uttar Pradesh has about 204 million, and if it was a country, it would be one of the most populated in the world. Agra is a very densely populated city with about 1.6 million people.
Call to Action: TrialSite plans on reaching out to health authorities in Uttar Pradesh to learn more about the observational data behind the initial rapid response team study.