Nigeria Government Making Moves to Fund Ivermectin Research Targeting COVID-19: IVERCOVID Program: The Nigerian federal government commissioned a team of researchers to investigate the efficacy of Ivermectin as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Known as “IVERCOVID,” this group just may impact the world’s approach to treating COVID-19, at least in the developing world. With ivermectin gaining traction as a potential treatment option, the country’s political leadership becomes ever more intrigued.
Composed of scholars at home and abroad, the group also submitted its report on usefulness of the drug to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that had appointed a peer review expert from the United Kingdom. Speaking while being briefed on the report by a team of scientists led by the Principal investigator, Prof. Femi Babalola, and the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed satisfaction that Nigeria and Nigerians “are at the cutting edge of scientific research into COVID-19 treatment.”
He said: “We have an opportunity here and I am so fascinated to hear this drug has been used in the treatment of river blindness in this country.”
Fascinated with the fact that the drug is already in use in the country to combat river blindness, the Vice President is considering how to leverage this African nation’s considerable experience and understanding of the drug given growing data pointing toward its potential benefits as a treatment and even prophylactic medication targeting COVID-19.
The world’s sixth most populous nation (213 million people), Nigeria, like many nations in Sub-Saharan African, was spared the worst of the pandemic to date as compared to places like Europe, the United States or even South Africa. With about 104,000 recorded cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections, about 1,382 people have died due to the pandemic thus far.
If COVID-19’s impact in the nation were to intensify during this second wave, the country’s ability to organize a defense would benefit from a low cost, easily accessible, early stage treatment and potential prophylactic—such as ivermectin, if it turns out to be effective. Standard measures to combat the virus, such as social distancing, face daunting challenges in a nation like Nigeria; the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for example, recently shared the difficulties involving social distancing in crowded classes and hostels.
Some cities such as Lago with a population of 14.3 million are among the most densely populated in the world. Of relevance, the IVERCOVID research team also recently shared their ongoing findings with World Health Organization (WHO) concerning the usefulness of ivermectin during the pandemic.
TrialSite has reported an organization affiliated with WHO is now conducting a meta-analysis study of the safety and efficacy of ivermectin in relation to COVID-19. Now the Nigerian government becomes ever more interested in IVERCOVID, the initiative led by Principal Investigator Professor Femi Babalola (an ivermectin expert), as well as Professor Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital also known as LUTH. With ivermectin gaining traction as a potential treatment option, the country’s political leadership becomes ever more intrigued.
For example, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s declared that Nigeria and Nigerians “are at the cutting edge of scientific research into the COVID-19 treatment.” Fascinated with the fact that the drug is already in use in the country to combat river blindness, the Vice President is considering how to leverage this African nation’s considerable experience and understanding of the drug given growing data pointing toward its potential benefits as a treatment and even prophylactic medication targeting COVID-19.
An expert in the topic of ivermectin, Professor Femi Babalola spent years working with the drug, which was central for the Onchocerciasis-River Blindness control program, which involves the ongoing use of ivermectin to control the tropical parasite-based disease. As part of this effort, he was a key player in the formation of the research group called IVERCOVID. Sponsored by Lagos University Teaching Hospital, key players in addition to Professor Babalola and Bode includes Professor Lanre Adeyemo, a U.S.-based clinical pharmacologist; Professor Adesuyi Ajayi; a couple of virologists (Professor SA. Omilabu and Dr. Olumuyiwa Salu), and Dr. Felix Alakaloko, project coordinator.
IVERCOVID Gains Momentum
The Nigerian government may seek to leverage IVERCOVID to find ways to fund and advance scientific research associated with ivermectin and COVID-19. First inspired by the breakthrough Australian research reported by TrialSite back in April—that at least in a lab ivermectin led to a 5,000-fold reduction in viral load in a cell culture—the Nigerian-based study “A randomized controlled trial for the repurposing of Ivermectin in the management of COVID-19” is led ongoing by IVERCOVID, supported by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), reported This Day.
The study authors noted that ivermectin isn’t meant as a replacement for social distancing, mask wearing and proper hygiene, or for that matter vaccination. Rather, it’s a way to overcome gaps or vulnerabilities. Apparently, the IVERCOVID group has forwarded its findings to the National Agency for the Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The IVERCOVID study was established to investigate the efficacy of two dose regimen of ivermectin plus the standard of care treatment for COVID-19 as compared to standard of care plus placebo in Nigerians who are COVID-19 positive and have a viral load measurement.
Professor Femi Babalola, Consultant Ophthalmologist (Ivermectin expert)
Professor Adesuyi L. Ajayi, Clinical Pharmacology & Physician
Professor Chris O. Bode, Pediatric Surgeon
Introduction In vitro studies have shown the efficacy of Ivermectin (IV) to inhibit the SARS – CoV-2 viral replication, but questions remained as to In-vivo applications. We set out to explore the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin in persons infected with COVID19.
COVID-19 Scientific and Public Health Policy – June 2020
There is a growing interest in the administration of vitamin C beyond the treatment of hypovitaminosis C in malnourished patients. This has been driven by a 2016 ‘before-after’ study which suggested a substantial survival benefit from a protocol that included hydrocortisone, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and thiamine (HAT therapy) in the treatment of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock
Other information on Ivermectin
18 January 2021
New York Supreme Court Judge Order: Give The Patient Ivermectin As Court Battle Leads to Ivermectin for Successful Treatment Against COVID-19: A judge ordered the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital to allow an 80-year old woman to be treated with Ivermectin. According to the family their attorney, the treatment saved the life of Judith Smentkiewicz. Although not yet approved, according to court documents, the woman’s daughter referred to it as a “miracle drug,” as do her attorneys, Ralph C. Lorigo and Jon F. Minear. Apparently, a doctor ordered the drug off-label in the intensive care unit (ICU), and as she improved, she was moved to another unit, and the doctor there stepped in and disallowed the use of the drug. Family members immediately involved lawyers and legal action to resume treatment. And now, The New York Supreme Court Judge Henry J. Nowak has aligned with the family.