A Japanese conglomerate that is studying the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin has found that the medication had an antiviral effect on Omicron, according to joint non-clinical research.
Kowa Co. Ltd., a conglomerate with interests in trading, hospitality, and electronics, along with health and medical applications, issued a press release (pdf) on Jan. 31 stating that ivermectin has been found to be effective against Omicron in in vitro studies. The firm is also in the process of carrying out a Phase 3 clinical trial on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, though the company’s remarks on effectiveness pertain to the findings of lab-based research.
Kowa representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.
The company, working with Kitasato University based in Tokyo, said that ivermectin has the “same antiviral effect” on all “mutant strains,” including Alpha, Delta, and Omicron. Kowa added that ivermectin suppresses invasion of the virus and inhibits its replication.
“[Ivermectin] is expected to be applied as a therapeutic drug (tablet) for all new coronavirus infectious diseases,” the report said.
Ivermectin has been used by the World Health Organization for over 30 years to treat parasitic infections. Volunteers have distributed the drug in African countries where it has been found to be extremely effective, said the Kowa report.
However, the treatment has been mired in controversy during recent times as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, even though the drug is used in humans to treat a variety of conditions.
The FDA has refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) asking for details about any reports of side effects related to the use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 while publicly denouncing its usage.