Turns Out the Horse Dewormer Doesn’t Help COVID Patients After All

Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last year, a drug called Ivermectin used to ward off parasites in horses became a popular remedy for many of those who refused the widely available COVID-19 vaccine. According to a new study, the pill —championed by Joe Rogan and other guys who sell nootropics for a living — was no better than a placebo at preventing hospitalizations in COVID patients.

Dr. Edward Mills, a professor of health sciences at McMaster University in Canada, presented the peer-reviewed study at a forum sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. “There was no indication that Ivermectin is clinically useful,” Mills told The Wall Street Journal. The trial, the largest yet for the drug, involved close to 1,400 COVID patients at risk of severe disease; it found that its use did not improve patient outcomes in any capacity. “This is the first large, prospective study that should really help put to rest Ivermectin and not give any credibility to the use of it for COVID-19,” Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine who reviewed the findings, told the Journal.

Ivermectin, which has been used for years to treat parasitic diseases like river blindness in people and heartworm in dogs, became one of several drugs that were widely politicized and used to treat COVID despite a lack of clinical proof for their effectiveness. It has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat viral infections. “You are not a horse,” the FDA tweeted last August. “Stop it.” Despite these warnings, demand for Ivermectin surged to the point that veterinarians were having difficulty finding the drug so that it could be used as intended.

The Horse Dewormer Doesn’t Treat COVID After All