A drug ivermectin commonly used to treat lice and widely available kills coronavirus in lab setting. Experts warn, do not self medicate.
‘No One Should Try to Self-Medicate’
“The main way we think ivermectin works is to target a key molecule of our cells that we think helps the virus to proliferate,” Jans says. “By stopping this, the virus replicates more slowly, and so our immune system has a better chance to mount the antiviral response and kill the virus.” Giving this or any antiviral drug early is thought to give the body the best chance of beating infection, he says.
The drug is “safe at relatively high doses, widely available, and relatively cheap, too,” Jans says. The next step is more research to find the best dose for fighting COVID-19. Then researchers can begin testing in people, he says. “It is important to stress that no one should try to self-medicate with versions of ivermectin that are for veterinary purposes or head lice.” The only safe way to get ivermectin is by prescription from a doctor, he says.