Published online 2020 May 30. doi: 10.1186/s12941-020-00368-w
PMCID: PMC7261036
PMID: 32473642

Ivermectin, a new candidate therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

The recent report by Caly et al., describing the antiviral potential of ivermectin against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro arrive to the agenda of potential candidates for COVID-19 treatment []. This discovery gave hope to the researchers who are screening for drugs that can be repurposed for treating the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Ivermectin, is a member of the avermectin family (Fig. 1); as these compounds are produced by the soil microorganism, Streptomyces avermitilis, they are called avermectins [].

Ivermectin has showed a wide range of activities, ranging from

  • broad-spectrum endo/ecto-parasiticide activity to antiviral
  • antibacteria
  • anticancer activities []

It was first introduced commercially in 1981 for use in animals. In addition to being used for treating billions of livestock and companion animals worldwide to help maintain food production and animal health, ivermectin is also used for treating several diseases in humans, e.g. a key drug in the elimination programs of onchocercosis [, ]. Ivermectin is considered a drug of choice for various parasitic diseases. As an anthelmintic drug, its mechanism of action in invertebrates mainly involves the opening of glutamate-gated and Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)-gated chloride channels, leading to increased conductance of chloride ions and causing subsequent motor paralysis in parasites [].



Ivermectin has been used very successfully in many Lyme/MSIDS patients as well.

Lyme discoverer, Willy Burgdorfer, wrote of finding nematodes in tick guts way back in 1984 and in 2014 University of New Haven researcher, Eva Sapi, found 22% of nymphs and 30% of adult Ixodes ticks carried nematodes.  

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Pathologist Alan MacDonald has found three strains of borrelia living in parasitic nematode worms, worm eggs, or larvae in the brain tissue of 19 autopsies.  

MacDonald states that both worms and borrelia can cause devastating brain damage and that

“while patients are wrongly declared free of Lyme and other tick-borne infections, in reality, too often they contract serious neurodegenerative diseases which can kill them.”  

Microbiologist Tom Grier also feels patients should and their practitioners should consider anti-parasitics for nematodes, (making sure to kill all parasites in every growth stage including eggs) followed by antibiotics for Borrelia.  He states treatment would have to be aggressive to get past the Blood-Brain-Barrier, and prolonged to eradicate the Borrelia. Grier gives the caution:  Do not self treat with anthelmintics as they can cause severe inflammatory reactions and fatal encephalitis.

If you are a chronically infected patient and you have used many different antibiotics over an extended period of time, but still struggle with symptoms, you should discuss specific and focused parasitic treatment with your doctor. The first link listed in the comment section should help you understand the complexity of this.

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