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Quality of clinical evidence and political justifications of ivermectin mass distribution of COVID-19 kits in eight Latin American countries

Requejo Domínguez et al., BMJ Global Health, doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2022-010962
May 2023  
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Authors' claim the first RCT was in August 2020 and did not show a benefit, however the first two RCTs were actually:
Chowdhury in July 2020, showing 46% improved recovery with statistical significance.
Shouman, showing over 90% lower cases with very high significance.
Both of these are missing and authors present the third RCT as the first, a trial with 32 hospitalized patients. This is despite the fact that authors claim lower in-hospital mortality is irrelevant: "The remaining 12 studies focused on clinical questions (such as reduction of in-hospital mortality) that were not relevant to deciding to include ivermectin in COVID-19 kits for mass dissemination."
Continuing for 2020: Mahmud in October 2020 is missing, showing statistically significant improvements for progression, recovery, and viral clearance. Niaee in November 2020 is missing, showing statistically significant lower mortality, and Chaccour in December 2020 is missing, showing improvements for symptoms and viral load (hidden in appendix). We did not check 2021/2022 but there are a total of 13 RCTs missing as of the publication date.
Authors' bias analysis is incorrect - for example they claim Reis is low risk of bias. However this trial not only shows very high theoretical risk of bias, but has very high known bias, including reporting data that is impossible to be correct, randomization failure, blinding failure, refusal to release pledged data, and many other issues Reis.
Requejo Domínguez et al., 24 May 2023, Peru, peer-reviewed, 3 authors.
Contact: wirtz@bu.e.
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Quality of clinical evidence and political justifications of ivermectin mass distribution of COVID-19 kits in eight Latin American countries
José Antonio Requejo Domínguez, Dolores Mino-León, Dr Veronika J Wirtz
BMJ Global Health, doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2022-010962
Background Several countries in Latin America conducted mass distribution of COVID-19 kits intended to treat mild COVID-19, thereby preventing excess hospitalisations. Many of the kits contained ivermectin, an antiparasitic medicine that was not approved at the time for the treatment of COVID-19. The study objective was to compare the timing of the publication of scientific evidence about the efficacy of ivermectin for COVID-19 with the timeline of distribution of COVID-19 kits in eight Latin American countries and to analyse whether evidence was used to justify ivermectin distribution. Methods We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published on the efficacy of ivermectin or ivermectin as adjuvant therapy on mortality from, or as prevention for, COVID-19. Each RCT was assessed using the Cochrane Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE). Information on the timing and justification of government decisions was collected through a systematic search of leading newspapers and government press releases. Results After removing the duplicates and abstracts without full text, 33 RCTs met our inclusion criteria. According to GRADE, the majority had a substantial risk of bias. Many government officials made claims that ivermectin was effective and safe in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, despite the lack of published evidence. Conclusion All eight governments distributed COVID-19 kits to their populations despite the absence of high-quality evidence on the efficacy of ivermectin for prevention, hospitalisation and mortality in COVID-19 patients. Lessons learnt from this situation could be used to strengthen government institutions' capacities to implement evidenceinformed public health policies. BACKGROUND In 2020, at least eight countries in Latin America
Competing interests None declared. Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Patient consent for publication Not applicable. Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. No applicable. Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise. Supplement 2 Nexis Uni search strategy Ministry of Health Social Security Ministry of Health Ministry of Health Ministry of Health Ministry of Health Social Security Acetaminophen
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