Coronavirus Treatment: Head Lice Drug Being Considered As Possible Cure

An effective vaccine against COVID-19 has yet to come out and researchers and scientists are working double-time to come up with a cure. There have been several studies already reported, although some are cautioned that a coronavirus cure could be costly.

Fortunately, it appears an affordable COVID-19 cure could be underway and it involves an antiparasitic drug normally used to treat hair lice. The drug is undergoing preliminary studies and the results are reportedly promising, the New York Post reported.

However, most are cautioned on the high expectations of the drug named ivermectin. The focus has been more on the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine but more backing is needed to determine if it can be an effective cure against the coronavirus, ABC News reported.

“Finding a safe, affordable, readily available therapy like ivermectin, if it proves effective with rigorous evaluation, has the potential to save countless lives,” Dr. Nirav Shah, an infectious disease specialist at the NorthShore University HealthSystem said.

Originally developed in the 70s and 80s, ivermectin was used to treat tiny roundworms called nematodes in cattle. It was also used for river blindness in humans as well as people who have head lice. It is now one of the essential medicines submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some may question the viability of ivermectin since it was made to treat parasites. However, experts claim that it could be effective against the coronavirus since it could block the viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) from harming healthy cells while also buying immune systems time to fight the virus strain.

With the head lice drug now on the WHO list, the proper dosage for humans is being determined. However, Shah cautioned that there are studies wherein drugs with vitro activity may not be effective in human studies.

“Given there are no proven therapies against COVID-19 to date and we are in the midst of a pandemic, drugs that show promise in early in vitro or observational studies such as ivermectin should be rigorously evaluated to understand safety and effectiveness,” Shah said.

Ivermectin is one of several drugs used to treat COVID-19 patients from different regions. Among those who could benefit from it include patients with lung injuries requiring mechanical ventilation. And while these are valid claims, further examination is needed to ensure that using this antiparasitic drug is safe for humans.

Vials of Priorix children's vaccine Vials of Priorix children's vaccine, which combats mealses, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. Due to the rising cases of measles outbreaks, social media platforms Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube are now taking action to stop anti-vax campaign. Sean Gallup/Getty Images