When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst, medical expertise took a strange turn when some doctors signed on to the idea that the drug ivermectin could be used to treat it. While there are several eminently valid medical conditions for which it makes sense to take ivermectin, COVID-19 is not one of them. Things got stranger from there, including the FDA warning people about taking doses of ivermectin intended for use in horses.
It may be time to break out your preferred quote about history repeating itself, because some of the same people who endorsed ivermectin for treating COVID-19 are now touting it as a response for other illnesses that have been in the news lately — specifically, RSV and the flu.
As Lauren Weber reports for The Washington Post, an organization called the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance — which hailed ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment earlier in the pandemic — is now making the case for using it to treat a number of other infections, despite the lack of scientific evidence to back that claim. A page on the organization’s website suggests a treatment plan involving ivermectin for people infected with COVID-19, the flu and RSV alike.
The CDC, it’s fair to say, is not amused. “Ivermectin is not recommended by CDC for prevention or treatment of influenza, and there are no data from clinical trials of ivermectin for prevention or treatment of influenza in people,” Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson for the CDC, told the Post.
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At least this time people aren’t mistakenly taking doses intended for a creature the size of a horse instead of something more human-scale. (At least as far as we know.) In the world of medical misinformation, that might be as close to a positive as things get.