Interest in ivermectin has surged during this summer’s rapid rise in coronavirus infections fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant. Prescriptions have soared, and some people have resorted to taking forms of the anti-parasitic intended for large animals, leading to spikes in calls to poison control centers around the country.
For many experts, the ivermectin craze is stirring feelings of pandemic deja vu.
“We’ve already had the sad example of hydroxychloroquine, which is used for malaria, which clearly did not show any positive effects,” said Sunil Parikh, an associate professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, referring to the drug pushed by President Donald Trump and others during the earlier stages of the pandemic.
“I’m afraid at the moment we’re heading down that way with ivermectin,” Parikh said.