Several months ago I asked the question: “is ivermectin a miracle?” The answer is a bit confusing. Against certain parasites, the drug is absolutely miraculous. Against COVID, though, the final word is not in. The latest data suggests that ivermectin is not taming COVID in India or in Japan.
What Happened in India?
Climb into the Wayback machine with me for a moment. If we turn the clock back to April-May of 2021, you will see that India experienced a horrendous second wave of COVID-19.
At the peak, the country was experiencing over 400,000 new cases daily. More than 4,000 people were dying daily.
Then cases plummeted. By July-August new cases were less than 50,000. During most of December daily cases were reported at under 10,000.
Was Ivermectin Taming COVID in India?
Many visitors to this website insisted that ivermectin was the magic bullet that was taming COVID in India. Here are just a few comments:
Rod attributes success in India to “anti-COVID kits”:
“It seems quite likely that the dramatic decline in cases in India was the result of the widespread use of the anti-covid kits [containing ivermectin] distributed across India and taken by a majority of the population, not just those already infected.”
Cathy says ivermectin is the answer for taming COVID in India:
“ In fact, Ivermectin has been studied as an anti-viral medication for about 10 years, and I don’t understand why you do not see the great success in India and other countries in almost eliminating COVID-19. It is not just for animals, any more than antibiotics or insulin or many other meds are used for both people and our pets.”
Judy also believes ivermectin was the solution to COVID in India:
“Yes, the Delta variant ravaged India — or started to. The large state of Uttar Pradesh decided to use Ivermectin and provided kits to everyone who got Covid, with Ivermectin, zinc, thermometers, and other useful things. The death rate dropped precipitously to almost zero. This kit, incidentally, costs peanuts and doesn’t provide any company with huge profits. In comparison, another state stopped using Ivermectin and the curve promptly went up again.”
Tim just says it works:
“Doctors should start prescribing ivermectin. It works in India”
“Ivermectin has been used successfully against Covid–in the US, India and elsewhere.”
Anne says COVID is just about gone:
“India is almost eradicating COVID because they were given ivermectin.”
Matthew is sure ivermectin was responsible for taming COVID:
“The fact is they are getting tremendous results in India and other countries. Yes, no big published data in India, but we do know that several large provinces in India officially adopted use of Ivermectin and cases plummeted.”
Is Ivermectin Taming COVID in India Now?
Let me share the latest stats from India. After hitting a low of about 6,000 COVID cases on December 18, 2021, the Omicron variant has started taking over in India. The third wave has been as steep in India as elsewhere. The Tribune (Delhi, Jan. 16, 2021) carried this headline:
“India daily Covid case count touches 8-month peak; tally reaches 37.12 mn”
Here is the lede:
“India added 271,202 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, its highest daily count in eight months, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 37,122,164, including 7,743 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.”
We are very sorry to see that India, like many other countries, is facing a rapid surge in COVID cases. We are glad to note, however, that deaths have not been rising so dramatically.
What About Vaccines?
Some ivermectin enthusiasts might believe that the drug is preventing hospitalizations and deaths in India.
The Indian government has another explanation (New Delhi, Jan. 16, 2022).
“India on Sunday marked one year of its coronavirus vaccination campaign, during which it has administered more than 1.5 billion doses, amid a third wave propelled by the highly infectious omicron variant.
“However, the third wave has resulted in fewer hospitalizations mainly due to the country’s widespread inoculation drive.”
“‘Today we mark #1YearOfVaccineDrive. I salute each and every individual who is associated with the vaccination drive. Our vaccination programme has added great strength to the fight against COVID-19,’ tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
What About Japan?
If you recall, Japan experienced a horrific surge in COVID cases last summer. August was the peak and then cases dropped dramatically. In early December we asked:
On November 28, 2021 there were only 60 COVID cases reported in the country. That was a dramatic decline from just under 30,000 COVID cases on August 28, 2021.
One scientific explanation offered by Japanese investigators was that the COVID virus had mutated into a “faulty virus.” Professor Ituro Inoue, of the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan believed that the coronavirus was on a road to self-destruction in Japan. We only wish that were still true today.
Was Ivermectin Taming COVID in Japan?
Visitors to our website were pretty sure that ivermectin was the special sauce behind Japan’s success in taming COVID.
Britta believes it is ivermectin in Japan and India along with vitamins and minerals that saved the day:
“Japan has made Ivermectin readily available, and that seems to be what halts the pandemic, as seen for example in Uttar Pradesh, India, where it was given to the people for free (along with a protocol of vitamins C, D and zinc). At least there is a very strong correlation, but of course this information is ignored.”
Beverly believes that Japan is promoting the use of ivermectin:
“Japan health officials promote the use of Ivermectin as a preventive and as treatment for Covid. The Tokyo Medical Association appeared on national TV in Sept and urged doctors to use Ivermectin. Since then, cases of Covid in Japan have dropped considerably. Same for India.”
I could find no record of such governmental promotion. One physician (not a Japanese health official) did encourage the use of ivermectin.
Sally believes ivermectin is responsible for the Japanese success story:
“Japan allowed early treatment with Ivermectin in mid August. Please add that to the list of answers to the mystery.”
Kevin believes that ivermectin was responsible for taming COVID in Japan:
“I’ve read that Japan began to allow the use of Ivermectin a few weeks before their dramatic decline began.”
Why Isn’t Ivermectin Taming COVID in Japan Now?
John points out that:
“On 5 January 2021 Covid is spiking in Japan as per new reports on Japans NHK World network”
Remember, Japan managed to control COVID this past fall. But starting in early January, cases have been climbing straight up. On January 15, 2022, there were 25,621 new cases of COVID-19. That’s about how many were reported at the peak back on August 21, 2021.
I am terribly sad to see COVID cases climbing in Japan and India. They are also going straight up in the US, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Argentina, Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Germany, Israel, Canada, Portugal, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Colombia, Switzerland and Belgium. Here is a link to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center so you can see for yourself.
I was hoping that Japan and India had discovered the secret for taming COVID. If it was ivermectin, great! If it was a new self-destructing variant, even better. Anything that truly worked would be welcome.
To determine whether ivermectin is actually helpful, we prefer to rely on an impartial review such as that conducted by physician-volunteers for the Cochrane Collaboration.
The most recent review (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 28, 2021) concluded
“we are uncertain about the efficacy and safety of ivermectin used to treat or prevent COVID-19. The completed studies are small and few are considered high quality.”
Sadly, we do not appear to have a magic bullet yet. I remain hopeful that the oral anti-viral medications, Paxlovid and Legevrio (molnupiravir) could help tame this tiger. (Learn more about the pros and cons of these drugs at this link.) I am disappointed that it has taken so long to get these medications widely distributed and available for every hospitalized patient.
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