Thursday 28 January 2021


THERE is new hope for Covid-19 patients in Zimbabwe after Government authorised the use of the readily available Ivermectin.

The importation and use of the anti-parasite drug was recently banned after the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) said its use could endanger the lives of members of the public.

The authority was also concerned that members of the public were going to self-medicate by taking Ivermectin products thinking they can be a substitute for Ivermectin intended for humans.

Zimbabwe like other countries has since said the drug can be used on Covid-19 patients. This week, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) announced it will allow a “controlled compassionate” use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the drug has encouraging effects on coronavirus, though like other regulators it’s also said the medication hasn’t been properly evaluated. Ivermectin has been used for decades to treat livestock infested with parasitic worms, while in humans it’s used as a topical ointment for diseases including skin infections and inflammation.

The drug is also approved in other countries for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. WHO has suggested the drug has encouraging effects on Covid-19 in the body and called for continued studies on the drug to determine its exact efficacy.

Physicians in the country had been using Ivermectin in a solution with Nanosilver and found the combination to be effective in reducing mortality rates. They also wrote to the Ministry of Health and Child Care saying they feel comfortable using Ivermectin for Covid-19 patients. “We feel comfortable using this drug, which has been around for 40 years. It is on the WHO essential drugs list and has an excellent safety profile. Since August 2020 we have adopted the use of both Ivermectin and Nanosilver solution and have found this combination to be a game-changer in terms of management of our patients,” the doctors said.

Zimbabwe has to date recorded over 32 000 Covid-19 cases and over 1 100 deaths since the outbreak of the global disease in March last year.

In a notice to MCAZ, the acting permanent secretary in the Health Ministry Dr Robert Mudyirandima said Government has authorised the strategic stocking of Ivermectin for the investigation of Covid-19 treatment alternatives.

“In these difficult times of Covid-19 treatment, we have to be careful to protect the patients as well as not to deny them effective treatment regimes. It is in this regard that authority is hereby granted for you to proceed under Section 75 of the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act to allow importation and use of these medicines under the supervision and guidance you outlined,” said Dr Mudyirandima.

“Ivemectin can be evaluated for both treatment and prophylaxis.” Chronicle


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