Use of ivermectin reduces risk of Covid disease
José Mongenster, José Natalio Redondo, Miguel Franjul and Doris Pantaleón. RAÚL ASENCIO / LISTÍN DIARIO
The results are the fruit of a study involving 542 healthcare workers at two Rescue Group centers.
Santo Domingo, DR
Using the drug ivermectin for prophylactic or preventive purposes among healthcare workers with high exposure to patients with the virus reduces the risk of presenting symptomatic Covid-19 by 74% compared to their peers working under the same conditions.
This is the result of a study carried out among 542 healthcare workers (matched 1:1), or homogenous groups, with 28 days of follow-up in two healthcare centers of the Rescue Group, a network of healthcare centers operating in tourist centers in the Dominican Republic.
The details of the study were revealed by the directors and researchers of Grupo Rescue, headed by its president, Dr. José Natalio Redondo; the director of Research, Dr. José Morgenster and the international consultant, expert in Big Data, Álvaro Olavarría, while participating in Listín Diario’s “Cita con el Covid,” hosted by its director Miguel Franjul and the journalist specializing in Health Communication, Doris Pantaleón.
The study entitled: Ivermectin as a Method of Prophylaxis Before Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in Health Workers was an observational and retrospective cohort study matched by propensity scores, was carried out at the Bournigal Medical Center (CMBO) in Puerto Plata and the Punta Cana Medical Center (CMPC) in Punta Cana and included doctors, nurses, administrative personnel, among others.
They detailed that the study began on June 29, 2020, and ended on July 26 of the same year and that a propensity score matching procedure of the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was applied at a ratio of 1: 1 to homogeneously evaluate 271 health professionals who voluntarily adhered to a PrEP program with ivermectin at a weekly oral (OV) dose of 0.2 mg/kg, and 271 health professionals who did not adhere to the program were assigned as a control group.
They explained that the study aimed to determine whether or not the program of prophylactic use of weekly ivermectin in a group of health workers meant a reduction in symptomatic Covid-19 infections, measured by RT-PCR, and that the results were that the ivermectin group had a 74% lower risk of having symptomatic Covid-19 than the control group.
In addition, the ivermectin group got sick 1.8% after infection, and the control group got sick 6.6%. Therefore, the margin of error identified in the study is less than 0.6%.
Face-to-face and virtual
In a face-to-face interview, Dr. Redondo and Dr. Morgenster, and virtually from Chile, the biomedical specialist Olavarría, explained that the Rescue Group prepared an internal research strategy to develop a guide for managing patients with Covid-19 from the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Redondo recalled that the first study carried out by them on the use of ivermectin in response to early treatment in more than 3,000 patients seen in the emergency ward determined that no case returned to the emergency ward and the mortality rate was 0.6, a third of the national rate of 1.8 at that time, and has been a source of reference for many studies around the world.
The specialists highlighted more extensive international studies that have been carried out in different countries that have given results similar to those of the Rescue Group.
Dr. Morgenster pointed out that this drug is also effective against the Covid-19 virus variants, including Delta. In addition, it has six or seven action mechanisms, making it a solid drug to combat the virus.
He pointed out that it is of great support as a preventive measure in health personnel who are highly exposed to patients with the virus.
The vaccine is the best weapon.
However, the specialists explained that what is fundamental in the fight against Covid-19 is vaccination and that the population should be vaccinated because that is the best weapon to avoid contagion, getting sick, and dying from the disease.
“Ivermectin is not in competition with vaccines and we cannot allow in any way that we are stigmatized as anti-vaccine, because it is the opposite, however, we must know that there are still many people who have not been vaccinated, or experiencing breakthrough infections despite the vaccination, so all options are extremely important in combatting this ever-changing virus,” said Redondo.
They pointed out that they recommend their high-exposure health personnel to take the medication as prevention, even if they are vaccinated.
Since the onset of Covid-19 virus cases in the country in March 2020, the drug ivermectin, commonly used as an anti-parasitic, has been controversial, involving both authorities and health specialists. In the US, there has been an active campaign against the use of Ivermectin, decrying the drug as “horse dewormer,” even though high profile celebrities such as podcaster Joe Rogan have successfully been treated with the medication.
Although its use became widespread in the Dominican Republic during the pandemic, both at the level of medical indications and self-medication, it is not part of the official protocol for preventing and managing Covid-19.
The first compassionate protocol of medical use of ivermectin in the early treatment of Covid-19 was done in the Dominican Republic at the Bournigal Medical Center, Puerto Plata, belonging to Rescue.