India Removes Ivermectin From Covid Clinical Guidelines

India's governing medical body has endorsed a new policy ending the use of ivermectin as for managing COVID-19

SCIENCE | THE WIRE – The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India’s leading medical research body, has revised its ‘Clinical Guidelines’ for COVID-19.

Specifically, it removed mention of two drugs that a panoply of experts and non-experts had widely used and promoted both in India and worldwide, and which had also been ceaseless sources of controversy: ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

The previous version of the national COVID-19 treatment protocols, dated May 17, 2021 (the one from which ICMR dropped the use of convalescent plasma) suggested that ivermectin and HCQ “may” be used despite “a low certainty of the evidence”.

This feeble cautionary note did nothing to dampen the ill-founded enthusiasm for the use and promotion of both drugs.

With the new revision, ICMR – and India – are now in line with accepted good practice vis-à-vis managing COVID-19, at least on the count of these two drugs. The guidelines of the US National Institutes of Health, the UK National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and the WHO all negatively recommend ivermectin and HCQ.

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“The fascination with and support for ivermectin as a prophylactic agent against COVID-19 is hard to explain.”

In addition, both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency have said that ivermectin is not an antiviral drug, much less an anti-COVID drug.

But within India, the consensus hasn’t been so well-defined, and the official treatment recommendations themselves have been polarising.

India Today reported as far back as June 7 that the Directorate General of Health Services, a body under the Union health ministry, had dropped ivermectin and doxycycline – a broad-spectrum antibiotic – from its recommendation.

But some news reports also suggested that Indian government experts and advisers were still debating among themselves as to whether ivermectin should be used.

This may explain why ICMR took so long to come around and exclude ivermectin from the guidelines – more so since it is well-known today that ICMR also deferred to political interests through the length of the pandemic. Ivermectin’s proponents through the pandemic have made many dubious claims … READ MORE. 

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India’s New Policy Is Hardly A Surprise 

Headline Health has covered claims surrounding ivermectin use for Covid on many occasions:

  • “Ivermectin did not reduce the duration of symptoms in patients with mild cases of Covid-19.”  – Reported 9/24/2021 
  • “Myths and beliefs around [ivermectin] have taken on a life of their own…” – Reported 9/20/2021 
  • “There’s just not any good evidence right now suggesting [ivermectin] is a good treatment for treating or preventing COVID-19.” – Reported 9/8/2021
  • “Ivermectin has gained a ‘weird cult following,’ even though data shows the drug is not effective in treating coronavirus.” – Reported 9/8/2021
  • “A large Egyptian study of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients has been retracted over concerns of plagiarism and serious problems with their raw data, the publisher confirmed to MedPage Today.” – Reported 9/8/2021
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