(KWQC) – Could a livestock anti-parasitic medication cure or prevent COVID-19? The answer is still unknown, but doctors say you shouldn’t rush to your local farm supply store.

Rumors of a magical cure to COVID-19 by way of Ivermectin started after an Australian study was released showing signs the drug killed the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 48 hours. The problem? It was only done in a laboratory setting, not in human patients. More research is needed to determine if it works the same in humans and to find a safe dosage.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ivermectin is most commonly used as an anti-parasitic medication for cows and horses. It can also be used in humans to treat “parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”

On Friday, August 20, 2021, Mississippi health officials warned against the use of Ivermectin, noting a rise in the number of calls to poison control from people ingesting Ivermectin. In fact, officials say at least 70% of the calls to the state’s poison control center were due to Ivermectin use. Officials say at least one person was hospitalized.

According to the FDA, side effects of using Ivermectin include “skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization and liver injury (hepatitis).”

Studies in countries like Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, etc. have shown some promise. However, many of those studies included small sample sizes, and experts note the studies were not high quality.

At this moment, a study is underway to “evaluate the effectiveness of cheap, widely available drugs in low- and middle-income countries that can be repurposed for COVID-19.” It includes Hydroxychloriquine, Lopinavir/ritonavir, Metformin, Fluvoxamine, and Ivermectin. It’s currently funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fast Grants, and the Rainwater Foundation. Researchers are looking to determine if a combination of drugs can be effective in treating COVID-19 in patients in countries where the vaccine is not readily available.

Pharmaceutical company Merck, which manufactures Ivermectin, and the FDA have issued warnings against using Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. In March of 2021, The World Health Organization issued a statement saying Ivermectin should only be used in clinical trials.

In conclusion, at this moment, experts say you should not use Ivermectin on your own to prevent or treat COVID-19.

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