South Africa Approves Controlled Use Of Ivermectin For COVID-19

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose (L), 51, performs a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Lenasia, Johannesburg, on May 13, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP
File photo: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose (L), 51, performs a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Lenasia, Johannesburg, on May 13, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has announced that it will be facilitating a controlled, compassionate access programme for the use of the anti-parasitic drug, Ivermectin.

The drug which before now, was not approved for human use in South Africa, has gained popularity recently for its supposed benefits for the treatment of COVID-19.

SAHPRA Chief Executive Officer, Doctor Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, however, emphasized that there was not enough scientific evidence to enable a regulator to make a decision on the drug’s use but the programme would be open to all patients, with the healthcare professional being responsible for the application and monitoring of the patient.

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She also said there is anecdotal evidence of the current, illegal use of the drug on the black market.

Meanwhile, the country is bracing up for the roll-out of a nationwide vaccination programme as the first batch, meant for healthcare workers is expected to leave the Serum Institute in India for South Africa on January 31.

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