South African epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim has warned against the administering of Ivermectin in the treatment of Covid patients.
In an interview with IOL on Tuesday, Karim said current evidence with Ivermectin is seriously inadequate for the medication to be prescribed for Covid-19.
"The Ivermectin available in South Africa is for animal use only. It would be professional misconduct for any doctor to prescribe it and any pharmacist to dispense it," he said.
Karim, who heads up the Ministerial Health Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19, said until more robust and peer-reviewed evidence was made available, the routine use of Ivermectin either for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 was not justified.
“Effective messaging needs to be developed to communicate both to the general public and to health professionals that the use of unregulated products purporting to contain Ivermectin is risky and unethical at this stage.
“Unregulated distribution channels are at risk of the introduction of substandard and falsified products, which can be deleterious to human health," he said.
His comments come as fears arise that Ivermectin may be sold on the black market to desperate South Africans seeking a cure for Covid-19.
Last week, the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said Ivermectin in South Africa was not indicated or approved by the authority for use in humans.
This means that veterinarians and other trained personnel are only allowed to administer it to animals.
The drug, which has been dubbed as a Covid-19 "miracle cure" is a widely used drug for the treatment and control of parasites in animals and is used to treat several tropical diseases in humans not commonly seen in South Africa, as well as scabies and head lice.