A hair lice pill costing just £1.50 is an effective cure for Covid, according to new research. Ivermectin - which destroys nits - also kills the coronavirus and slashed death rates dramatically in a study of thousands of patients. Users were less likely to become infected and the medication also speeds up recovery. The report by Dr Pierre Kory, of Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care in Washington DC, is the latest in a number of studies which have reported positive results for Ivermectin. He said: "Ivermectin should be globally and systematically deployed in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19." The prescription-only therapy, which also comes as a cream and costs as little as £1.50 - has been hailed as the key to ending the pandemic. The findings in The American Journal of Therapeutics are based on data pooled from across the world. Dr Kory said: "Meta-analyses based on 18 randomised controlled treatment trials have found large, statistically significant reductions in mortality and time to clinical recovery and viral clearance. "Furthermore, results report significantly reduced risks of contracting Covid-19 with the regular use of ivermectin." Earlier this year a study by Liverpool University suggested it cut the risk of death for hospitalised Covid patients by up to 80 per cent. In a trial in Egypt, 100 patients with mild symptoms were cleared of the virus within five days, on average, when they got the drug. For comparison, the figure stood at around 10 days for 100 patients who did not receive the drug. And in 100 patients battling severe symptoms they removed Covid within six days when they got the drug, on average, compared to 12 days for the 100 control patients. Similar results were also seen in a study carried out in Bangladesh. The studies commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) were carried out mainly in developing countries. Dr Tess Lawrie (MBBCh, DFSRH, PhD), Director of The Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy Ltd in Bath, Somerset, is also calling for the immediate rollout of Ivermectin as a Covid cure. She said: "There have been at least 10 reviews on the evidence of ivermectin and researchers around the world agree that it reduces Covid death substantially. "What people need to remember is that the vaccines are aimed at only preventing Covid, they do not treat Covid. "Doctors need the tools to treat their patients and ivermectin is the number one tool that every doctor needs in their tool kit." Dr Lawrie, a founder member of the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Group, added: "For me, it's clear that Ivermectin is the key to ending the pandemic. "Its effects are so dramatic, and it's so safe, and it can be used at all stages of the disease, and it can be used for prevention, and we know it's safe for the elderly, and we know it's safe from the immunocompromised and we know it works against variants. "It's just common sense. Oh, I forgot, it's also very cheap." Ivermectin has been promoted as a Covid treatment across Latin America and in South Africa. Dr Kory said experiments show ivermectin combats SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid, by hooking onto its 'spike protein' - dousing inflammation. He said: "Since 2012, a growing number of cellular studies have demonstrated Ivermectin has antiviral properties against an increasing number of viruses including influenza, Zika, HIV, Dengue and most importantly, SARS-CoV-2. "Insights into the mechanisms of action by which ivermectin both interferes with the entrance and replication of SARS-CoV-2 within human cells are mounting." However, some experts are sceptical - saying previous studies have generally been small or low quality. A further trial of British patients has been launched to test Ivermectin's efficacy. The therapy is being added to the UK's large scale PRINCIPLE Trial - for Covid patients at home who are at most risk of hospitalisation. Over 65s - and those aged 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions or shortness of breath - will be eligible. They will be given a three-day course of ivermectin and tracked for 28 days. Individuals will be enrolled within the initial 14 days of symptoms or a positive test. Joint chief investigator Prof Chris Butler, of the Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit at Oxford, said: "Ivermectin is readily available globally. "It has been in wide use for many other infectious conditions so it is a well known medicine with a good safety profile. "Because of the early promising results in some studies it is already being widely used to treat Covid-19 in several countries. "By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like PRINCIPLE, we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against Covid-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use." It may even hold the key to conquering 'Long Covid' - a post-viral syndrome including constant fatigue, shortness of breath, 'brain fog' and joint and chest pain. A study of 33 patients in Peru found most symptoms cleared up after two doses with almost all cured after additional ones. Added Dr Kory: "Their experience suggests the need for controlled studies to better test efficacy in this vexing syndrome." Ivermectin was discovered in the 1970s and has fast become an essential medicine for a vast number of parasitic infections. It is branded as Stromectol, an oral tablet for scabies and Soolantra, a skin cream for rosacea and Sklice for treating head lice. The WHO has said vaccines alone will not be enough to end the pandemic. Effective treatments are equally important.
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