Here’s my brief summary of it:
There’s a lot of discussion about a particular drug, let’s call it “wonder drug 2” or WD2 for short. Yes, there was a WD1 and yes people did take the animal version of WD1 as well with one man dying from it. Anyways…
It would be great if WD2 works at least a little bit to help with any of the following:
a) preventing infection and/or preventing symptomatic illness
b) preventing hospitalization
c) preventing death
The reason it would be great is that WD2 is relatively cheap (though the price is inflated due to high demand in some areas) and it could be sent to lower-income places and stored much easier than vaccines. It is worth doing high-quality studies on WD2 in order to determine if it has a slight benefit. But since some people want to take WD2 and recommend it to all their friends INSTEAD of a vaccine, let’s compare the two.
First, we have vaccines. They are remarkably good. For these four points they are somewhere around:
a) 60-90% effective at preventing infection/symptoms. Plus if you get infected you are infected for a shorter time and are less likely to infect others compared to those unvaccinated
b) 90-95% effective at preventing hospitalization
c) 95-98% effective at preventing death
That is… amazing! (see Science Brief: COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination for a list of references and more specific numbers)
So now on to WD2…
Unfortunately for WD2, a lot of the studies so far are at high risk of bias, meaning you cannot conclude much from them. There have been a few meta-analyses of WD2, but they remarkably included some fraudulent studies (as in the data was entirely fabricated-Huge study supporting ivermectin as Covid treatment withdrawn over ethical concerns | Medical research | The Guardian) and rated them as “low risk of bias.” In short, we really don’t know what WD2 actually does, but we do have some estimates (an easily digestible summary can be found here Ivermectin Shows No Clear Benefit in the Treatment of Covid-19 | by Gideon M-K; Health Nerd | Aug, 2021 | Elemental). Again it would be great if it reduced mortality by 10%, that would be very helpful but we just don’t know yet.Some studies showed a large reduction in infection for those who took Ivermectin, but they are at high risk of bias for reasons you can look at here: https://www.psmid.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Ivermectin-Prophy-v2_1619527505.pdf. Or we have some high-quality studies showing things like Ivermectin did nothing to reduce hospitalization and people in the Ivermectin arm ended up on mechanical ventilation sooner than placebo (Ivermectin to prevent hospitalizations in patients with COVID-19 (IVERCOR-COVID19) a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial | BMC Infectious Diseases | Full Text).
Please do not use it as a substitute for getting vaccinated. That is all, thank you.
I made this little chart as well: