Woman says controversial COVID-19 treatment Ivermectin saved her life

MEMPHIS, TENN. — Ivermectin is probably not a medicine you heard of until the last couple of months, but the drug used to treat parasites in animals and humans is at the center of controversy as Americans go to desperate measures to beat COVID-19.

To be clear, the CDC, FDA and the American Medical Association warn not to use Ivermectin in any form to treat COVID. But, could it work?

FOX13 talked to a woman who said it saved her life and there is a new study that offers you a chance to take part in ground-breaking research.

Ivermectin is used every day to treat parasites in livestock. At Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary students are using an injectable version on calves. Dr. Dave Smith is an epidemiologist and veterinarian.

“We use it in large animals, horses, cattle, pigs as a de-wormer,” Dr. Smith said. “What it does is paralyze the worm, and then the worm dies.”

There’s also a human version. Colli Bounds said it saved her life.

Bounds tested positive for COVID January 2nd. Her doctor prescribed a steroid and antibiotic. Two weeks later, her oxygen levels were still dropping. That’s when her doctor wrote a prescription for Ivermectin designed to treat lice and parasites in humans.

“After day one, I could feel like I could start to breathe again,” Bounds said.

It’s stories like hers that cause people to ignore the experts, like the CDC, FDA and AMA.

Dr. Scott Morris, who founded Church Health, a non-profit clinic in Memphis, said the science is not there.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that I’ve read that would indicate it is effective for COVID,” Morris said. “Trust me, I wish it was. I’d be using it every day, because here at Church Health we see patients every day with COVID, and it is a terrible disease.”

In recent weeks, the most esteemed medical groups in the United States issued statements telling people NOT to take Ivermectin, even the human form, to treat COVID. Doctors are reluctant to prescribe it and even those who do would not respond to our invitation to talk about it.

The controversy turned to alarm when people flocked to farm stores buying Ivermectin meant for livestock, like this $11 tube of paste.

“It already warned you about skin irritations, and then if you ingested, intestinal effects it might have,” Dr. Smith said. “There are warnings about birth defects. It’s not a thing that I would want to put in my mouth.”

As a result, poison control centers have seen a dramatic increase in calls from people sickened, even hospitalized, from taking ivermectin meant for animals. Two people have died, according to the New Mexico Health Department.

Still, the frenzy over this un-proven drug continues, but it’s also prompted more research.

Duke University Medical Center is conducting a clinical study right now to evaluate whether Ivermectin and two other drugs can safely treat COVID.

“So far we haven’t seen any problems yet, but we don’t know yet whether it helps people have their COVID-19 symptoms go away faster or prevent them from going in the hospital or even dying,” Dr. Adrian Hernandez said with Duke University Medical Center.

The two-year study is open to people over the age of 30 who test positive for COVID, Hernandez says.

The results of the study are a long way off. In the meantime, the vast majority of doctors continue to encourage vaccination against COVID and treatments that have shown wider success, like monoclonal antibodies.

If you want to know more about the Activ-6 Study, click here or call 833-385-1880.