Drug maker Merck & Co has warned against the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19, saying there is no evidence of its efficacy and safety.
The anti-parasite drug has been around for more than 40 years but only for use in animals.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) also warned this week that ivermectin is still illegal in SA for use in the treatment and prevention of Covid-19 in humans, except by approved medical practitioners in controlled compassionate use.
Merck warned that there was no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from preclinical studies.
The company said there was no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19, and there is a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.
“Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety.
“We do not believe that the data available supports the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.”