Study on Ivermectin efficacy for Covid-19 to be completed soon, says Khairy

PETALING JAYA: The study on the efficacy of controversial drug Ivermectin in preventing severe Covid-19 infection will be completed soon, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

He was referring to the "Ivermectin Treatment Efficacy in Covid-19 High Risk Patients" Study, better known as the I-TECH Study, which was announced by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in June.

In a Parliamentary written reply dated Sept 22, Khairy said the I-TECH Study will continue until 500 subjects are recruited by the end of September.

"Next, findings of the study are expected to be tabled to Health Ministry stakeholders in October," he added.

Khairy was responding to Oscar Ling Chai Yew (PH-Sibu), who asked about preliminary findings of the I-TECH Study.

Khairy said as of August, more than 350 Covid-19 patients were involved in the I-TECH Study, the main objective of which is to evaluate the efficacy of ivermectin in preventing Covid-19 patients from deteriorating from Category Four to Category Five.

He said based on the study's protocol, an interim analysis of safety was made after 30% of the patients were recruited.

To date, Khairy said, the Data Safety Monitoring Board determined that there were no significant side effects reported.

"The board has urged for studies on efficacy analysis to be continued until it (I-TECH) is completed," he added.

Category Four patients are those having pneumonia and requiring supplemental oxygen while Category Five patients are critically ill and need to be intubated or put on a ventilator.

Ivermectin has been used for decades to treat head lice and river blindness in humans, and heartworms in animals.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that has not been registered for the treatment of Covid-19 and is only allowed to be used in clinical trials in 12 hospitals across the country.

Those caught selling Ivermectin for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19 can be fined between RM25,000 and RM50,000.

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