With the start of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists from all over the world began to search for the most effective means of combating this new disease. Some of the researchers focused on the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Others tried to adapt the existing drugs and their combinations for treatment. In general, specialists tried to combine medications that inhibit viral activity with ones that generate an antiviral immune response.
One promising direction was combining the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin with a broad-spectrum tetracycline-class antibiotic, Doxycycline.
Ivermectin and Doxycycline Interactions with COVID-19
In 2020-2021, at least 19 studies were conducted on this topic.
In theory, this combination had a lot of benefits, including:
- noncrossing mechanism of action aimed at virus replication and pneumonia;
- potentially well-tolerated;
- economic feasibility.
However, scientists who generalised all 19 studies concluded that there is not enough evidence to recommend a combination of Ivermectin and Doxycycline for COVID-19 treatment.
Despite this, other researchers proved the undoubted benefits of the Ivermectin and Doxycycline combination to treat SARS-CoV-2. The study, published in May 2021, shows that patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection treated with Ivermectin plus Doxycycline recovered earlier. Also, they were less likely to progress to more serious disease and were more likely to be COVID-19 negative by RT-PCR on day 14.
Another study, published in 2022, states that combined therapy with ivermectin and doxycycline can effectively alleviate the cytokine storm of COVID-19 infection.
The scientists concluded that “The hallmark of SARS-CoV-2 and the cause of disease severity is ‘cytokine storm’ which leads to irreversible damage to the lungs due to the uncontrolled release of proinflammatory cytokines. The end result is death due to severe pneumonia and multiorgan failure. Due to the diverse mechanisms of action of Doxycycline and Ivermectin, this combination may help immensely in reducing the fatality of infection by preventing the cytokine storm.”
After numerous studies on COVID-19 treatment with Ivermectin and Doxycycline, at least two positive results were achieved.
The combination of these drugs:
- lead to earlier recovery of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection and decreased the risk of progressing to more severe disease;
- can prevent the cytokine storm, which often causes the death of a patient with a coronavirus.
Despite this, neither TGA nor FDA hasn’t approved these medications for COVID-19 treatment.