A Promising COVID-19 Treatment May Succeed Where Vaccines Can't Reach

For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has remained the top concern of the global medical establishment. And for most of that time, the rapid development of vaccines was the world's great hope for a quick end to the crisis.

But the only way for vaccinations to work is to get them to every corner of the globe at once. Otherwise, small clusters of remaining infections will continue to produce variants that will eventually render the vaccines useless. And already, hard-hit places like India and parts of Africa are proving to be a massive challenge to those charged with vaccine distribution.

What this means is that there's an increasing likelihood that COVID-19 is going to turn into a seasonal problem the world has to deal with again and again. For that reason, the medical community is now exploring ways to treat a disease that looks like it's here to stay. And their search is starting to focus on an old medication called Ivermectin, with a long reputation as a wonder drug.

But it's going into the fight with an assist from a cutting-edge biotechnology firm called MVMD. Here's what's happening and how it might impact the ongoing battle to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic – and more.

From Anecdotal Evidence to Lab-Tested Proof

In the early days of the pandemic, doctors facing waves of critically ill COVID-19 patients began looking for any treatment that might help improve their survival rates. Early hopes centered on drugs like Hydroxychloroquine, but its alleged benefits proved illusory. But doctors didn't give up. They kept trying other medications that they thought might help.

Soon, they began to explore the use of Ivermectin, another well-known medication with a proven history of in-vitro anti-viral properties. And although doctors began to report some success treating COVID-19 patients with the drug, it was clear that further study was needed.

That's when MVMD entered the picture. They were in the midst of creating a proprietary solubilized version of Ivermectin that they call Ivectosol™. It has unique properties that make the drug more bioavailable and easier to administer. So they set up a COVID-19 clearance trial that put their formulation to work against the South African Variant, Brazilian variant, and the original variant of B.1.1.7 using in-vitro testing. And it halted the viral replication of all three.

“There has been an overwhelming amount of data supporting the power of ivermectin as a therapeutic and prophylaxis for COVID-19.  To date there have been 58 human trials completed across more than eighteen thousand patients by 519 scientists showing efficacy with significant patient outcomes,” said Dennis Hancock, President and CEO of Mountain Valley MD.

Dennis Hancock Pictured: Dennis Hancock, President and CEO of Mountain Valley MD. Mountain Valley MD

Human Trials Commencing

The results of the early laboratory trials were so promising that they made it possible for MVMD to move forward with Phase 1 human trials. During those tests, the researchers involved will work to identify safe dosage levels of the drug, which will inform their efforts in later stages. It's a process that typically takes up to six months to complete. But because the underlying medication is so well understood already, it's hoped that the process will be shorter than usual.

What's most important about the trials, however, is the unique way that MVMD's drug is formulated. Because it's solubilized, it can be made into a dissolvable sublingual pill form. It can also be made to be injectable but without any costly cold-chain shipping requirements. If it succeeds in treating COVID-19, it would be a perfect candidate to help control the pandemic in some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the world.

That would alleviate some of the pressure on the global healthcare system, and provide time for vaccine manufacturers to produce enough doses for underserved populations. And if the drug is successful enough, it may even eliminate the need for vaccines in many corners of the world. It would also mean that any future seasonal outbreaks of COVID-19 wouldn't be as dangerous or deadly. It's an outcome that would be just what the doctor ordered.

Uses Beyond COVID-19

It's also worth noting that there was a good reason that MVMD was already working on Ivectosol™ when the pandemic began. It's because Ivermectin was already under consideration for use as a treatment for a variety of common cancers. But it had always suffered from issues that made it hard to use for that purpose. The biggest hurdle was an inability to deliver the drug straight into cancerous cells, which is a prerequisite for any successful cancer intervention.

But Ivectosol™ may be injected directly into tumors in a way that conventional Ivermectin cannot. And the early research indicates that doing so can quickly kickstart immunogenic cell death in the affected cells. When that happens, the patient's immune system begins to recognize the cancerous cells as a threat, enabling the body to fight its cancer on its own.

“The scientific rationale behind intratumoral injection as a means of increasing drug deposit directly in the tumor microenvironment is very sound,” said Dennis Hancock.   

“Several preclinical trials have shown very high efficacy in intratumoral murine models ”

Such immunotherapy approaches to cancer treatment may yield viable cures to forms of the disease that have no other available treatments. They're expected to produce the next generation of cancer treatments and to do so without destructive radiation or chemotherapy, which are common today. And the fact that a single medication could prove to be the key to defeating COVID-19 and cancer is a testament to how versatile it is. It may yet prove that its reputation as a wonder drug is quite appropriate indeed.

The Bottom Line

It's important to point out that it's still going to be some time before we find out if all of this work will bear fruit. But the early results do seem promising. And now that it's a safe bet that COVID-19 won't be eradicated anytime soon, it's critical for efforts like these to continue.

If it turns out that Ivectosol™ is a viable treatment for COVID-19, it will go a long way toward eliminating it as a long-term health threat to the world. Even if it manages to marginally improve the odds of recovery for those afflicted with the disease, it will be of immeasurable help to millions of people.

And beyond that, its promise as a treatment for cancer means that any success it has in fighting COVID-19 may end up as a mere footnote in the long run. That would be an outcome that places the drug in rare company as a true medical breakthrough. And in both cases, the world would be a healthier place to live for us all.

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