Uganda News

Ivermectin fails the Covid test, putting the UPDF drug study in peril.

According to a trial conducted in Brazil, the acclaimed Covid-19 medicine, Ivermectin, for which President Museveni has directed the Finance ministry to fund Shs3 billion to begin clinical studies, is unsuccessful in treating the deadly disease.

The findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday in a paper titled ‘Effect of Early Treatment with Ivermectin among Patients with Covid-19.’

The study, directed by Dr. Gilmar Reis, compared over 1,300 patients infected with Covid-19 who were given either Ivermectin or a placebo in 12 public health clinics across Brazil.

“Treatment with Ivermectin did not lead to a lower frequency of medical admission to a hospital due to Covid-19 progression or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of Covid-19,” according to the study.

Dr Bruce Kirenga, the director of Makerere University’s Lung Institute, had previously warned that diverting funds to Ivermectin research would be a waste of resources.
Instead, he believes the funding should be used to conduct drug research on other medications.

“Although Ivermectin is not listed in the Ministry of Health’s treatment guidelines, some clinicians have been utilizing it on an individual basis.”

Available research indicates that it isn’t particularly beneficial; some studies show some benefit, but the majority of studies show no benefit,” said Dr. Kirenga, who has been treating Covid-19 patients at Mulago hospital.

“At the time that proposal was written, there was some evidence to justify the use.” However, further evidence has been added at this time.

As a result, the current evidence will have to be compared to what had been planned,” he added.
Mr Matia Kasaija, the Finance Minister to whom the President wrote the letter, could not be reached for comment by press time.

Mr Jim Mugunga, the Finance Ministry’s spokesperson, said he had not seen the letter and hence could not comment.

In a letter to Mt Kasaija dated February 22, 2022, the President indicated that his orders are based on evidence from a medical team.
“I charged the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Medical Team with conducting research on the use of Ivermectin prophylaxis in the treatment of Covid-19 infection some time ago.”

Trials on sick soldiers were conducted, and it was discovered to be beneficial, particularly in high-risk populations.

Mr Museveni stated in the letter, “I am aware that the study was carried out by the UPDF team in collaboration with Makerere University College of Health Sciences.”

“To evaluate the dozing and scheduling of Ivermectin, the team has to conduct a well-designed randomised controlled trial.” The data will be used to inform policy and guidelines on the effectiveness of Ivermectin prophylaxis in the treatment of Covid-19. The team will need Shs3 billion to complete the research,” he noted.

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