Fact Check: Ivermectin NOT 'Vindicated (AGAIN)' In Peer-Reviewed Study Showing 92% Reduction In COVID-19 Mortality

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Ivermectin NOT 'Vindicated (AGAIN)' In Peer-Reviewed Study Showing 92% Reduction In COVID-19 Mortality Not Endorsed

Was ivermectin "vindicated (again)" in a peer-reviewed study that showed a 92% reduction in COVID-19 mortality? No, that's not true: The claims about ivermectin were published on an "open science" site where scientists may share findings before they have been vetted by independent experts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized the use of the anti-parasite drug for the treatment of COVID-19.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on September 5, 2022, under the title "ᴅᴇᴇᴘ sᴛᴀᴛᴇ ғᴀɪʟᴜʀᴇs ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ᴘᴜsʜɪɴɢ ʙᴀᴅ ᴄʜᴏɪᴄᴇs. It opened:

Ivermectin Vindicated (AGAIN) in Peer-Reviewed Study Showing 92% Reduction in COVID-19 Mortality, Marjorie Taylor Greene Demands Accountability

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Sep 6 16:50:09 2022 UTC)

The claim about ivermectin appears a little more than halfway (29:58) through an "On The Fringe" podcast hosted by "Dan Radiostyle." The host talks about a September 3, 2022, article published (archived here) on the En Volve website called "Ivermectin Vindicated (AGAIN) in Peer-Reviewed Study Showing 92% Reduction in COVID-19 Mortality, Marjorie Taylor Greene Demands Accountability."

The article cites an August 31, 2022, study on the drug that appears on the Cureus website, which bills itself as an "Open Access medical journal for a new generation of doctors, researchers and patients. We're eliminating barriers to the generation and dissemination of medical knowledge."

"This is not a well-constructed study," said Dr. James Lawler with the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in a September 6, 2022, email to Lead Stories. "I think the first warning should be that it is published on an online portal that really isn't a traditional peer-reviewed scientific journal."

In his email to Lead Stories, Lawler said he has several concerns about the study:

Several RCTs [randomized controlled trials] and legitimate meta-analyses by universally respected scientific groups like Cochrane Database have been done for ivermectin and the results are pretty clear - it provides no benefit in COVID-19.

Lead Stories has written about one the study's authors before. Pierre Kory is a physician affiliated with the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), an anti-vaccine group that has been cited for perpetuating unsubstantiated claims regarding the virus in a scholarly article in Frontiers in Pharmacology. Kory is a founding member of FLCCC.

Asked for a response to the study's claims, FDA Press Officer Chanapa Tantibanchachai told Lead Stories in a September 6, 2022, email that the agency does not comment on third-party research:

Currently, FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans. To date, published clinical trials have shown mixed results. Additional clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 are ongoing. Information on clinical trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 can be accessed at https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/.

While FDA-approved products may be prescribed by physicians for unapproved uses if they determine it is appropriate for treating their patients, including during COVID-19, the safety and efficacy of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 has not been established. Taking ivermectin can interact with other medications the patient is taking and cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness and ataxia (problems with balance).

The FDA offers a fact sheet discouraging the use of ivermectin against COVID-19: Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19.

In another September 6, 2022, email to Lead Stories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention echoed the FDA, saying the anti-parasitic is not authorized to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. Clinicians and public health practitioners should educate patients about the risks of using ivermectin without an indication or prescription, as well as about the risks of ingesting ivermectin products that are meant solely for external use or veterinary use. COVID-19 vaccination is safe and the most effective means to prevent infection and protect against severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Clinicians are strongly encouraged to educate patients to use proven COVID-19 prevention measures, especially getting vaccinated and boosted as soon as eligible, and use FDA-authorized treatment.

Lead Stories has written dozens of stories debunking false claims about ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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