Some medical doctors are prescribing a veterinary drug to patients in a bid to either stave off or treat COVID-19, but an expert has warned.
A statement released on Saturday from the acting director-general of the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), Richard Rukwata, warned against the use of veterinary ivermectin injection to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Ivermectin belongs to a class of drugs known as anthelmintics and works by paralyzing and killing parasites in animals.
“In view of the growing number of inquiries and reports received concerning use of veterinary ivermectin injection for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, the MCAZ is strongly advising members of the public, veterinary medicines general dealers and health practitioners against the use of veterinary formulations of ivermectin injection in humans for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 or any other health condition,” Rukwata said.
His warning came amid a surge in the number of infections and deaths in the last few days, with 985 cases and 22 deaths recorded on Friday, with cumulative cases being 19,660 infections, 12,184 recoveries and 468 deaths.
Rukwata said veterinary ivermectin was not indicated nor was it approved by MCAZ for use in humans.
“Furthermore, the Medicines and Allied Substances Control (General Regulations) prohibited the use of any veterinary medicine for the treatment of humans,” he added.
“Any researchers interested in exploring novel therapeutics of COVID-19 can only do so under clinical trial settings, or in any other manner after prior authorization by MCAZ.
“Unapproved uses of medicines can lead to negative health problems, worsening of your condition or even death,” he said.
He advised patients and healthcare providers to use standard treatment guidelines and protocols approved by the Ministry of Health and Child Care as guided by the World Health Organization.