Claims that India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, had no new cases of COVID-19 after implementing an ivermectin protocol have been shared on Facebook and other social media sites. Most notably, a headline of an article from "INDEPENDENT SIDE: Your source of relevant and true news" reads, "INDIA: No Covid-19 Cases In 24 Hours After Implementing Ivermectin Protocol." Also, an article written by Jim Hoft on the conservative media site Gateway Pundit reads: “HUGE: Uttar Pradesh, India Announces State Is COVID-19 Free Proving the Effectiveness of “Deworming Drug” IVERMECTIN.” We find these claims as mostly false. There is no scientific evidence showing that ivermectin led to a reduction in the spread of the virus in Uttar Pradesh. As we covered in a previous fact-check, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of ivermectin when it comes to treating and preventing COVID-19.
India stopped recommending the use of ivermectin for the management of the virus in September, citing a lack of scientific evidence of its benefits. Researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) did not find enough evidence for Ivermectin and Hydroxycholoquine as potential therapeutics targeted against COVID-19.*
While cases appear to have fallen in Uttar Pradesh as well as most locations in India, it’s not clear why. Many other factors, including immunity from a previous infection, vaccination, and lockdowns, likely helped reduce the number of cases.
We asked Shira Doron, MD, Infectious Disease Physician and Hospital Epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center about the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America updated its review of the evidence for or against the use of ivermectin in August, and continues to do so as new studies are completed: https://www.idsociety.org/practice-guideline/covid-19-guideline-treatment-and-management/.
Based on the totality of the evidence to date, there appears to be no benefit to the use of ivermectin as treatment for, or prophylaxis against, COVID-19. Large scale randomized clinical trials are underway and may further elucidate whether there is any utility to the use of this medication.
COVID-19 cases rise and fall for a variety of reasons, which are not fully understood. These include seasonality, population immunity, changes in behavior, and changes in testing practices.