UT Health SA wants COVID-19 patients for drug study that includes Ivermectin

Nationwide ACTIV-6 study will look at effectiveness of current medications against COVID-19

UT Health San Antonio is launching a COVID-19 treatment study involving ivermectin.

SAN ANTONIO – Researchers at UT Health San Antonio are looking for active COVID-19 patients to participate in a drug study, which includes ivermectin.

The drug is used in humans for infections caused by some parasitic worms, head lice, and even rosacea. However, it has gained notoriety after some COVID-19 patients have begun trying to use the veterinary version of the drug meant for de-worming livestock.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, the principal investigator locally for the ACTIV-6 study, says while previous studies have shown some promise for treating COVID-19 with ivermectin, there still isn’t enough data to recommend it yet.

“It is an important drug to study as a repurposed agent, because in lower doses, it is a safe drug to take,” he said.

I think it’s just really important to recognize the import -- the utility of a carefully done study to show is it safe and is it effective? Because that’s an important question.”

In the meantime, he says patients outside of a clinical trial should not try to self-medicate with it, and no one should be trying to use the veterinary version.

Ivermectin is one of three drugs currently part of the study, though Patterson said drugs may be added or dropped depending on the results of this or other studies, or if a new drug comes to the forefront.

The other two drugs at the moment, are fluticasone, an inhaled steroid commonly used for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), often prescribed for depression, according to the study’s website.

Participants are able to dictate for which of the drugs they want to be considered, Patterson said, whether it’s just one, two, or all three. Those that are accepted are then shipped either one of the drugs or a placebo version.

The nationwide study is expected to end up including 15,000 people, and due to the ongoing surge of local cases, Patterson said there may end up being several hundred from the area.

Participants can come from anywhere in the United States, though, and will keep track of their symptoms for 90 days, according to the study website.

Eligibility criteria include:

  • 30 years or older
  • Tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days
  • Have two or more current COVID symptoms for 7 days or less

You can sign up through the ACTIV-6 website HERE.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.