Haruo Ozaki, the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association in February announced that ivermectin, which is known as an anti-parasitic drug for animals and humans appears to be effective in treating COVID. He went further to recommend all doctors in Japan to use ivermectin to treat the disease, which has killed millions all over the world since it spread globally in early 2020.
But ivermectin continues to be a source of controversy among medical professionals, especially in the face of the development of several COVID vaccines, one of which has been given full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to LifeSite News, Dr. Ozaki pointed to evidence from African countries that used ivermectin to treat COVID during the pandemic.
He argued, "In Africa, if we compare countries distributing Ivermectin once a year with countries who do not give ivermectin...they don't give ivermectin to prevent COVID but to prevent parasitic disease... if we look at COVID numbers in countries that give Ivermectin, the number of cases is 134.4/100,000 and the number of deaths is 2.2/100,000."
The Japanese expert also compared statistics from African countries that did not use ivermectin yearly versus those that did not, revealing, "African countries which do not distribute ivermectin: 950.6 cases per 100,000 and 29.3 deaths per 100,000." Dr. Ozaki believes that this is evidence to show the difference between COVID rates and death rates among countries that use ivermectin and those that don't.
"I believe the difference is clear. Of course one cannot conclude that Ivermectin is effective only on the basis of these figures, but when we have all of these elements, we cannot say that Ivermectin is absolutely not effective, at least not me," Dr. Ozaki said.
He recommended that other studies be done to "confirm its efficacy" especially now that Japan is "in a crisis situation." The country is facing seeing one of its biggest surges of new COVID cases at about 23,000 new cases over the weekend. Dr. Ozaki concluded, "I think we are in a situation where we can afford to give [patients] this treatment."
Ivermectin has gained recognition in Latin America as well. According to Nature, the Peruvian Ministry of Health recommended the use of ivermectin for treatment of mild and severe COVID cases back in May. Bolivia followed suit, with its government adding ivermectin to its guidelines for treating COVID infections.
Brazil's municipality of Natal in Rio Grande Do Norte also promoted ivermectin as a preventative drug for healthcare professionals who are at higher risk for contracting COVID, because of the drug's "safe pharmacological profile, clinical experience using it against other diseases, cost and dosage convenience."
But Peru and Bolivia acknowledge the limited evidence that proves ivermectin is truly a COVID cure. Bolivian health minister Marcelo Navajas said during a press conference in May that "It is a product that does not have scientific validation in the treatment of the coronavirus."
But researchers are determined to add to this evidence. In September of 2020, infectious-disease physician at the National University of Salta in Orán, Argentina Alejandro Krolewiecki and his colleagues revealed the results of a small clinical trial that evaluated the effectiveness of ivermectin in treating COVID.
The Argentinian study focused on 45 people with mild and moderate COVID and administered ivermectin to 30 of them for five consecutive days with a daily dose of around three times as much as what is used to treat parasite infections, while 15 COVID patients received standard care. The results showed that among those who were given ivermectin, "a clearer, faster and more intense viral elimination occurred."