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Cheap hair lice drug may cut risk of COVID-19 death by 80 percent: study

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A simple treatment for COVID-19 could be cheaper than 20 bucks — and familiar to most grade school nurses.

Head lice drug ivermectin is being explored as a potential treatment for the coronavirus following a promising new study that showed an 80% reduction in hospitalized COVID-19 patient deaths.

Just 8 out of 573 patients who received ivermectin passed away, compared to the 44 individuals out of 510 who died after being given a placebo.

An earlier study of the antiparasitic prescription drug, which costs between $17 and $43 for a course of treatment, according to GoodRx, revealed promising results in April — by removing all viral RNA within 48 hours of a single dose.

Liverpool University virologist Andrew Hill has called the new study “transformational” in the search for a coronavirus therapy. His findings, based on data from over 1,400 patients, were made public in a video posted to YouTube in which Hill discusses his results in a previously aired livestream. The research currently awaits peer review prior to publishing.

“If we see these same trends observed consistently across more studies, then this really is going to be a transformational treatment,” said Hill.

However, critics have called Hill’s study conclusion premature, urging further research before declaring ivermectin an effective treatment — citing other buzzed-about methods that ultimately failed to deliver, such as hydroxychloroquine and tocilizumab.

“All we have are observational studies and clinicians’ opinions,” said University of Sydney professor Andrew McLachlan, the Daily Mail reported.

“Many of the current studies have low numbers of participants, weak study designs, and inconsistent (and relatively low) ivermectin dosing regimes, with ivermectin frequently given in combination with other drugs.”

health care worker holding Ivermectin
IvermectinAFP via Getty Images

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