A San Antonio doctor is making noise Friday after saying he has been using the antiparasitic medication Ivermectin - commonly used to treat head lice, roundworms, threadworms and other parasites - on coronavirus patients.
"It prevents COVID from replicating...and it also decreases the viral load," Dr. Hoan Pho says.
Ivermectin has been considered safe in treating different types of human and animal parasitic infections, including lice, but is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for other uses.
The lice medication is widely available and costs around $20.
Dr. Andrew Hill, a virologist from Liverpool University, claimed Ivermectin - which can be administered as a tablet or applied as a gel - might be "transformational" in the fight against COVID.
Scientists studying Ivermectin believe it works by disabling the SARS-CoV-2 virus and "overwhelming its nervous system" to keep it from cloning.
"I am an aggressive treater of respiratory viral infections...and I find Ivermectin helps prevent patients from getting worse and ending up on ventilators," Yahoo Life quoted Pho as saying.
The Food and Drug Administration recognizes Ivermectin has shown some efficacy during laboratory tests - but further research and trials were required because the results were limited.
According to Pho, in about 50 to 60 patients "there's no hospitalization...nobody has gotten sicker and has needed oxygen to be hospitalized."
Pho said 50% of those patients were older than 65 years. If a patient is sick with the coronavirus, he gives them the lice medication with a blend of other drugs. He believes the key is Ivermectin.
Many fear Ivermectin could end up like the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump touted as a "wonder drug."
But health experts and scientists were quick to clarify the drug's effectiveness against COVID was still yet to be proven.