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Study backing Ivermectin's efficacy in treating COVID withdrawn over ethical concerns

Study backing Ivermectins efficacy in treating COVID withdrawn over ethical concerns

A study supporting the efficacy of Ivermectin, a drug used against parasites such as worms and headlice, in treating COVID patients, has reportedly been withdrawn over "ethical concerns".

The study led by Dr Ahmed Elgazzar from Benha University in Egypt on the efficacy and safety of ivermectin was published on the Research Square website in November.

The withdrawal of the drug from the website has now thrown serious doubt among the public.

However, Research Square did not state what those concerns were.

The study which was carried out from 8th June to 15th September 2020 was conducted on 600 subjects; 400 patients and 200 health care and household contacts that were divided into 6 groups:

The findings from the study revealed that patients with Covid-19 treated in the hospital who "received ivermectin early reported substantial recovery" and that there was "a substantial improvement and reduction in mortality rate in ivermectin treated groups" by 90%.

As per the report by The Guardian, it was a medical student in London, Jack Lawrence, who first identified the serious concerns about the paper, leading to the retraction. He first became aware of the Elgazzar preprint when it was assigned to him by one of his lecturers for an assignment that formed part of his master's degree.

Shockingly, he found the introduction section of the paper appeared to have been almost entirely plagiarised.

As per the words of Lawrence, it appeared that the authors had run entire paragraphs from press releases and websites about ivermectin and Covid-19 through a thesaurus to change keywords which led to them changing 'severe acute respiratory syndrome' to 'extreme intense respiratory syndrome' on one occasion,".

The data also looked suspicious to Lawrence, with the raw data contradicting the study protocol on several occasions.

He further added that the study, which claimed to have been conducted only on 18-80-year-olds, had at least three patients in the dataset under 18.

Although Lawrence and the Guardian had sent Elgazzar a comprehensive list of questions about the data, they did not receive a reply. The university's press office also did not respond.

Lawrence who sought the help of Nick Brown, a data analyst affiliated with Linnaeus University in Sweden who reviews scientific papers for errors, made a comprehensive document uncovering numerous data errors, discrepancies and concerns, which he provided to the Guardian. According to his findings, the authors had clearly repeated data between patients.

"The main error is that at least 79 of the patient records are obvious clones of other records," Brown told the Guardian.

The Elgazzar study was one of the largest and most promising showing the drug may help Covid patients and has often been cited by proponents of the drug as evidence of its effectiveness.

Earlier, the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) had issued a statement against ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19 after it received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with Ivermectin.

FDA had even made its stance that it had not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans and added that the drug is not an antiviral (a drug for treating viruses).

FDA had also stated that taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm.

It even advocated to never use medications intended for animals. As per FDA, Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.

Meanwhile, other studies on ivermectin are still underway. In the UK, the University of Oxford is testing whether giving people with Covid-19 ivermectin prevents them from ending up in hospital.

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TAGS:Ivermectin Anti covid drug 
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