KUCHING: The antiparasitic drug Ivermectin has not been proven to treat Covid-19, said Education, Science and Technological Research Assistant Minister, Dr Annuar Rapaee.
He said this, too, had been stressed by the drug’s manufacturer MSD which pointed out that Ivermectin was not meant to be used against the coronavirus.
“Ivermectin is used to treat parasite infestations and MSD had said it would not be liable for any adverse effects of the drug when used to treat Covid-19.
“At the moment, there is no concrete data on whether this can be used. If some people claim that they have used the drug and it was successful in treating Covid-19, then it is good (for them),” he said.
Dr Annuar said before a drug was approved in treating an illness, it needed to undergo four phases of clinical trial. He said the vaccines, due to the emergency circumstances, also underwent three phases.
“This drug has not been studied to be used on Covid-19. Many members of the public have read up on Ivermectin but there is no indication yet on its effectiveness,” he said in a livestream on Saturday (Aug 14).
He was commenting on the use of the drug which was pushed by those opposed to the vaccines, alternative medicine practitioners and some consumer groups.
Earlier Saturday, the Health Ministry said two people in Malaysia who took the yet-to-be-approved antiparasitic drug had suffered acute poisoning,
Both cases were reported to the National Poisons Centre, the ministry said. It cautioned against taking the drug as a form of self-treatment against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, commenting on herd immunity in Sibu, Dr Annuar said while it remained to be seen on whether it could be achieved, it was crucial to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
“At the end of the day, we need to live with Covid-19 and what is important is that we don’t have many severe infection cases and do not overwhelm our hospital capacity,” he said.
To a question of whether a booster vaccine dose would be needed against Covid-19, he said the timing of when to administer the third vaccine jab had yet to be ascertained.
“I have a feeling that we will need a booster dose as the Covid-19 variants are changing. But when, whether it’s six months or one year after the second dose, we still don’t know,” he said.